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(John) Conrad Weiser, 











i .i !'- 

Air on. lENOX AND 

R ' L 


There is no apology needed for writing the life of Conrad 
Weiser, if the opinions and wishes of knowing men carry with 
themselves any meaning or force. On the 13th day of Xo- 
vember, 1793, General George Washington, accompanied by 
General Joseph Hiester and other distinguished men, stood at 
the grave of Conrad Weiser, and said : " This departed man 
rendered many services to his country, in a difficult period, 
and posterity will not forget him.'' Richard Peters, Secretary 
of the Province of Pennsylvania, wrote already in 1761 : 
''Since 1744 he has acted a prominent part between the In- 
dians and the Government, by whom his loss will be severely 
felt. A faithful sketch of him by some of his descendants 
would be exceedingly interesting." Samuel Hazard, compiler 
and editor of " Pennsylvania Archives" and " Colonial Rec- 
ords," is careful to preserve the above remarks in his valuable 
collections. Thomas H. Burrows says : " On many occasions 
he was of the greatest service to the Province by his influence 
with the Indians." Franz Loeher, author of " The History 
and Fortunes of the Germans in America," speaks of his sig- 
nificance in these words : " One man, whose name figures so 
laro;ely in the orisfinal records and events of his day, deserves 
special mention." Prof I. Daniel Ruj)}), the antiquarian and 
dweller among the McDie-'^, has frequently revived his name in 
his numerous writings. Geo. F. Baer, Escp, of the Reading 
Bar, remarks in his address, delivered at the dedication of the 
new wing of Palatinate College, Myerstown, Pa., December 
23, 1875, on the Pennsylvania Germans : " Then, too, the 

4 PRE r A C K. 

name and fame of Conrad Wcisor, the great Indian Inter- 
preter and ])oare-nmker, will l)e rcscncd from com])arative 
obscnrity, and he will l)e ^dven the liiLdi rank and place iu 
history which he so faithi'ully earned and so richly merits." 

No student of our Colonial era need he told of the promi- 
nence of the man and his works. The wonder is, not that the 
links which compose his long and eventful history, should now 
be united in a chain ; but that this service had not been done 
for him long ago. 

The " Life of Conrad Weiser" is not a manufactured one. 
It is not invented, imagined or made up. It is no " baseless 
fabric of any airy vision" — no Hiawathian structure of poet- 
ical art — no arraying of an Enoch- Arden skeleton in fictitious 
flesh and blood ; but the simple record of his life, as we find 
it enshrined in the facts, events and deeds of a long, steady, 
unostentatious and efficient course. It is but a reprint of an 
Autobiographical Journal, of parts of the Pennsylvania Ar- 
chives, Colonial Kecords, the Hallische Nachrichten', the 
numerous Monographs of I. D. Rupp, and a gathering up of 
the floating traditions among his descendants, both in Peun- 
sylvania and Wurtemberg. It is a presentation of the man, 
so far as this may be done, from his remains. The manner of 
its execution we must leave to the judgment of others. Were 
it but half as ably done as it was willingly done, then the 
work would verily be equal to the occasion. As it is, we can 
only pray the review'er's kindness to take the hearty will for 
the imperfect deed. To the disappointed *' descendant" of Con- 
rad Weiser we feel like saying, " Go thou and do — better !" 


New Goshenhoppen, Pennsburg, Pa., 
Centennial Year, May. 


No man has done more, and few as much, for the early 
settlers of the Colony of Pennsylvania than Conrad Weiser. 
Had he liyed in New England, he would have been remem- 
bered long ago in marble, story and song ; but, because he 
lived in Pennsylvania, he is forgotten even by his own people. 
The very grave in which he is buried is known to very few, 
and not decently kept. He and his wife lie buried in an old 
orchard on the farm once owned by him, near AVomelsdorf, 
Berks county. 

I started a movement in 1893 to begin to raise funds f«)r 
the erection of a monument to his memory, as well as to pro- 
tect the grave. This spot should be the shrine for every 
Pennsylvania German. 

We devoted a period during the Berks County Teachers' 
Institute of that year to devise means and plans to launch the 
movement. It was resolved and agreed that the second day 
of November should be kept as " Conrad AVeiser Day." Spe- 
cial exercises were held in every school in the county, suitable 
programs arranged and a contribution taken. 

By these means we collected 8204, which sum is now 
deposited with the Pennsylvania Trust Company of Keading. 
It is hoped that ere long sufficient money will be raised to 
carry out this movement. 

In our visitation of schools throughout the county fre(|uent 
inquiries were made as to where books could be had contain- 
ing information relative to the life and works of Conrad Wei- 
ser. To meet this want, the publisher of this book reluc- 

b I N I' i: n D r CI I n N. 

tJintly consontod to issiu* aiiotlirr rdition of the " I>ifo ot" Con- 
rad Wriscr," nnd include in the same tlic most hcjiutifnl, yet 
patlietic Indian storv ever written — the story of Ke^dmi Ilart- 
man, tlie German captive. 

It is lioj)ed tliat this book will find its way into many 
homes in Pennsylvania, and there arouse sufficient local pride, 
and love and respect for ancestry to comj)lete the movement. 


Reading, Pa., September, 1899. 


Conrad Weiser's Remote Ancestry and Native Place Page y 

Conrad Weiser's Parents — His Father and Mother 12 

The Exodus of Conrad Weiser's Father 15 

Conrad's Father Chief of the Colony at Livingstone Manor... 19 

Conrad's Father Chief of the Colony at Schoharie 22 


Conrad Weiser's Father the Defender of the Rights and Liberties of his 

Countrymen at Schoharie 24 


Conrad's Father Leads a Colony to Tulpehocken, Pennsylvania — His Re- 
turn and Wandering — His Visit to Tulpehocken — His Death 28 

John Conrad Weiser, Junior — His Name— Birth-Place — Baptism 31 

Conrad's Arrival in America — His Stay with the Maqua Indians 35 

Conrad Weiser and His Step-Mother 39 

Conrad Weiser's Brothers and Sisters — His Occupation— His Marriage — 

His Departure for Pennsylvania -13 

Conrad Weiser's Advent in Pennsylvania — The Beginning of His Official 

History '19 


ConrRfl Weiser, Provincial Interpreter — JoHtice of the Peace — 17.'i2-174;^ 53 

Ten More Years of Imiiiin Intcrc«mr.''c — Mi.-8ion« antJ Duties — 1744-1754 6;i 

(ilAi'THK XV. 

The French t\ud Indian War — Conrad Weiscr, Su|icrintendent tf the In- 
dian Bureau — Colonel — His Death Officially Announced — 1751- 
1760 77 

Conrad Wciser's* Failing Health— His Death— His Burial-lMace 88 

Conrad Wciser as a Religious Character 92 


Conrad Wei?er's Will — His Possessions — His Sons and Daughters — His 

Posterity 99 

Summary and Conclusion 114 


Authentic Autobiography of Conrad Weiser 118 

Letter of Conrad Wciser 128 

Dedication Hymn 131 

Story of Regina 134 





The first condition necessary to a fair understiinding 
and correct appreciation of a character is to know his 
origin. Call it providence, destiny, fatality, no man can 
wholly escape from his ancestry, if we may credit that 
part of the Declaration of Sinai — " for I the Lord thy 
God am a jealons God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers 
upon the children unto the third and fourth generations of 
them that hate me, and showing mercy unto tliousands of 
them that love me and keep my commandments.'^ 

In the ancient Electorate of A\ urtemberg, also caHed 
the Duchy of Wurtemberg, a part of the once famous 
Palatinate of the Rhine, and in tlie town of Gross-Aspach, 
a place of some note in the county of Backnang — the 
pedigree of Conrad Weiser took its first beginning. '' In 
this place," he tells us, in a fragment of his maiuiscript 
biography, " my ancestors, from time immemorial, were 
born and are buried — as well on my fathei*'s as on my 
m-^ther^s side." 

The Lutheran Pastor Eisenliart, of Gross-Aspach, writes 

for us, February 17, 1871, from whose letter wo extract 

as follows : " I herewith send you the Weiser Hneage from 

the earliest date within my reach. Our Church b(.K)ks 



extond l)a('k hut to 1603. Diiriiiir that year the parson- 
age, to^etlicr with some two liiiiKh'cd homes, was laid in 
ashes hy the I'l'cnch. 'Plie reeords were aeconhnu;ly 
destroyed. I may then ascend no hi<i;lier, notwithstand- 
ing my anxiety to serve yon. Tlie Pcinior Loci in 1697 
epitomized, from memory and trachtion, tlie names of all 
the surviving memhers of the congregation. On this roll 
the name of John Miehael Weiser np])cars, who died in 
1721 ; and also that of John Conrad Weiser, w^ho is des- 
ignated a * baker' in handicraft, as well as distinguished 
by the title of Corjwral."* From the same source we learn 
that a certain Frederick Weiser, of the direct line, is at 
this time a resident of Gross-Aspach — a statement which 
a lately emigrated nephew confirms. We may also state, 
on written and vei'bal authority, that the name Weiser 
may be traced on the facade of an antique Avine-press, 
which Avas regarded as one of the ancient landmarks of 
the place — in 1870, at all events. The patronymic is 
likewise engraved in the tablet of a venerable stone man- 
sion, which either the historical Conrad's father or grand- 
father had erected. An eye-witness describes it as stand- 
ing over from the Magistrate's office in Gross-Aspach. 
We were told that the stone had been carefully replaced 
during the rebuilding of the house in 1799. 

Conrad's manuscript autobiography contains this note 
touching his forefathers : ^^ My great-grandfather was Ja- 
cob Weiser, and my grandfather was, likewise, Jacob 
Weiser." The former he designates a ^^ Schuldheisz," the 
Chief Magistrate of a district, somewhat beyond a Justice 

* The pastor alluded to bore the name of Hegele. He was subsequently 
deposed from the ministry for engaging in the very unclerical business of a 
wine merchant. 


of the Peace among us. It is worthy of notice thai the 
grandfather and father, as well as Conrad himself, filhMl 
the same office in their several days. 

On the strength of Pastor Eisenhart's letter, Conra<l 
Weiser's record, and the sayings of an eye-witness and 
living descendant, we are safe in regarding Gross-Aspach 
as the cradle-place of Conrad Weiser's ancestry, and that 
ancestry as of some age and honorable. 

The numerous descendants of our venerable hero, scat- 
tered as thev are over a number of states at this dav, mav 
hereby learn the source-spring of their being. AVe know 
of no Weiser-scion in America, which is not an outgrowth 
of Conrad, and through him a branch from the original 
trunk. This humble sketch will afford them the mean?;, 
however spare, of knowing the quarter of their earthly 
origin, as well as the period of their forefather's arrival 
in America, and line of their blood and name — all of 
which is fast proving a great satisfaction to the children 
of German, Swiss, French, English and other emigrated 
ancestry, in the measure according to which the society of 
our country is crystallizing into families — a process which 
no nation can eventually escape. 




Conrad ^^'eiser^s ftitlier was Joliii Conrad AVeiser. He 
was Ijoru and reared in the town of his ancestry, Gross- 
Aspacli. Following the hnmblc trade of a baker in early 
life, he sneceeded bv dili^j^ence and self-cultnre to attain to 
the position and office of " Schuldheisz," or American 
lOsqnire. He occupied, likewise, the station of a Corporal 
ill the military service, and is so distinguished in the obit- 
uary note of his wife, which is entered on the necrological 
roll of his native place. 

His wife, the mother of Conrad, was Anna Magdalena 
Uebele — not AVebele, as it is usually written. This wor- 
thy woman was a native of the same place. AVe are told 
that the name is still worn by living representatives and 
descendants there. 

On tlie first day of May, A. D. 1709, she died in the 
forty-third year of her life. The primal sorrow of her 
sex carried her from the bosom of her large family into 
eternity, when about to become the mother of her six- 
teenth child. Almost a moiety of this large group must 
have died quite young. Eisenhart informs us that only 
twelve names are enrolled, though in the mortuary notice 
it is distinctly mentioned in these words : "Anna Magda- 
lena Welser died in the forty-third year of her life — the 
mother of sixteen children.^' 


The catalogue of surviving children, in 17 Id, runs 
thus: Catharine, Margaret, ^Magdalena, Sa])ina, (.'onrad, 
George Frederick, Christopher Frederick, Rarhani and 
John Frederick. Seven of their children must, then, have 
preceded her to that unknown and silent shore, ^\'e feel 
constrained to add a tribute of regard over the asiies of 
such a " mother in IsraeP^ in view of the ])are but elo- 
quent flict just told us. Is not such a woman a martyr in 
a certain sense ? Her noted son, Conrad, had then boon 
in his thirteenth year, and tender enough never to have 
forgotten his early and great loss. He kindly writes of 
her : '^She Avas much beloved by her neiirhbors and feared 
God. Her motto w^as, 'Jesus Christ ! For Thee I live ; 
for Thee I die ; living or dying, I am Thine.' " 

Her religious nature was largely implanted and per- 
petuated in her son, as we shall more fully learn in these 
pages. The doctrine that ascribes all the noble (pialities 
and virtue of a child to the mother is a fiilse doctrine. 
^Mind is not of the mother' exclusivelv. The children of 
the Indians are always distinguished by the name- of the 
mother. The reason they give for this habit is, that their 
offsj^ring are indebted to the father for their souls, the 
invisible part of their being, and to the mother for their 
bodies. We are inclined to endorse their view as ortho- 
dox. The Scriptural argument in favor of its correctness 
can be conducted with ease, if we are permitte^l to (piote 
the holy mystery of the incarnation as an analogy. 

Yet the maternal influence counts for much, certainly 
— for one-half, if you please — in the formation of the 
offspring's character. This woman, thougli dying in mid- 
life and Avhen her son was but a child, lived on in him. 
Lilve a good angel, her piety cleaved close to his heroic 

1 1 THK T.IP'K OF 

fjpiril all tln-niiL^li lii.8 eVfUt I'lil lilc. \V\' iiiiisl v,\i!V Imld 
the child <»!' rcliLnoiis parents al a prrmiuiu. 

Conrad could never cease re<;rettinL!: the loss of his 
mother. Any half-orphan, of any tcndrrness, will ap|)re- 
ciate his feclinj^s. Von seem constantly to detect a sigh- 
ing after her. This is an <'vi<h'nce of the aniiahility of his 
nature, wliich even the savages could feel in later years. 
P>ut miLrht n(tt that e\cell(Mit mother's longer stay on earth 
have soi'tened, weakened and enervated the child, and thus 
unfitted the man for the miles and miles of marching, for 
the severe life that lay before him ? May not such a sil- 
ver lining he found to the dark cloud which so often emp- 
ties its fatiil charge on a household and strikes the mother? 

Conrad's heart was of his mother, let us concede. But 
the strength, energy and self-reliance, Avhich he exhibited, 
came by his fiither. Had not his father been just the 
cast-iron man he was, his offspring would never have 
shown so hardy a son. By Providence, then, the mother 
was suffered to come aloft, lest the son might be petted 
;ind indulged beneath the level, from which it is only pos- 
sible to construct and elevate a hero. In more than one 
noble life may we find some such philosophy illustrated. 




"yIs a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man 
that icandereth from his place.^^ — (Prov. 27 : 8.) 

The man who is led forth by the demon of unrest, or 
mere loA^e of adventure, from his country and kindred, 
will surely realize the truth of the wise man's words. God 
" had made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell 
on all the face of the earth ; and hath determined the 
times afore appointed, and the bounds of their habitations^ 
This pregnant saying finds its application in the individ- 
ual and family, no less than in the kindred, stock, tribe 
and race. It is in the violation of this Providential order- 
ing that we may find the cause of the shipwreck of men 
and nations. There is a w^edding of names to places, no 
less than a nativism of plants and animals. 

But it was not from any such adventurous motive, we 
may safely say, that John Conrad Weiser, already beyond 
mid-life, left Europe ; the Palatinate ; the Duchy of W'ur- 
temberg ; Gross-Aspach ; the dust of his ancestoi's that 
had been gathering and mouldering for several genera- 
tions ; the cradle-place of his being ; his kindred and 
neighbors and friends — the like of which no man can ever 
hope to replace in the latter half of his history ; his home- 
stead, hallowed by the dearest associations and traditions ; 
and the fresh tombs of his faithful and pious wife and lit- 

\(] TMK r-iFi: OF 

tie ones : all these i\>v North AiiHi-ica — the \\ ildeniess of 
the New World — tlie Iiuliaii Territorv of the Province of 
New York. ^^'ll^^ then, was tliis Al)rahainie Exodns'^ 
We niav, to l)e snre, only snrniise; hut in this way, per- 
ha])s, approximate the trne eanses. 

Hiiroj)e was in a state ol' unrest. Tiu^ l*aUitinate had 
heen nio<t ernelly visited and devastated by the French, 
especially ill 1 ^83 and 1693. Religions wars bore heav- 
ily on that once fair rei^ion. Spanish aggressions were 
followed by pestilence and famine. Finally came the win- 
ter of 1709, when birds perished on the wing, beasts in 
their lairs, and mortals fell dead in the way. 

Why, then, continne to dwell in this fated place? Had 
not good Queen Anne, of England, offered a free passage 
to America, the fabled land of promise ? Had not Hol- 
landers, Swedes, Swiss ; Lutherans, Reformed, Mennon- 
ites, (Quakers, all these opened the way already since 
1613? Could not Penn and Pastorius, and others, be 
trusted ? 

A migrating epidemic seized upon the stricken masses, 
and, as by a wave, 30,000 Germans washed along the 
shores of England. The Israelites were not more astounded 
at the armored carcasses of Egyptian soldiers lying by the 
banks of the Red Sea, the morning after their deliver- 
eranee, than Avere the English at this immense slide of 
humanity. A three-headed demon stared the realm of 
Queen Anne in the face — poverty, famine, w^ar. Alarm 
set in. Riots ensued. How came the deliverance ? Five 
chiefs of the Mohawk Indians, who constituted an embas- 
sage to the British government for the purpose of asking 
aid against French aggressions, saw and pitied — yes, pit- 
ied ! — this perishing mass of men, women and children. 


They offered to open their hunting grounds Iving hevond 
the great sea. The government, only too happy over such 
a prospective riddance, devised ways and means of trans- 
portation, and Robert Hunter, the Provincial Governor ol" 
New York, led 4000 Palatinates thitherward. ''At t\w 
head of this colony,'' says the Schwcebische Mcrkur mid 
Kronihy '' stood John Conrad AYeiser." Xational calam- 
ity drove him a voluntary exile abroad. Domestic atilic- 
tion, too, had but two months earlier embittered his cup. 
And may not, at certain intervals, along the line of his- 
tory, the same impulses stir the bosoms of prophet-men or 
pivot-men as moved the ancient Chaldean shepherd to 
peril his all — not knowing whither he went. 

Let us listen to the nearer details of the veritabh' 
uprooting of himself and his homestead, as given by the 
son: "In 1709 my father moved away from Gross- 
Aspach, on the 24th day of June, and took eight children 
with him. Mv eldest sister remained there with her hus- 
band, Conrad Boss, with whom she had two children. 
My father sold them his house, fields, meadows, vineyard 
and garden. But they could pay only 75 guldens ; the 
remaining 600 guldens were to be paid at a subse(pient 
period. As this was never done, it was made a present 
to them." A man at that period and in that country own- 
ing a homestead with adjoining fields, meadows, vineyard 
and garden worth 675 guldens, and titled, besides, as an 
Esquire and Corporal, he may well be considered to have 
been the leading spirit of the colony. 

We will but add a morsel touching their voyage : "In 
about two months we reached London, in Knghmd, ahuig 
with several thousand Germans, whom (^ueen Anne, of 
glorious memory, had taken in charge and was furnishin«^ 

1,S THK \.\VK OF 

with luoil." From the ch^sc of August until near the 
close of the ycnr — four months — they hiy over the Black- 
moor. "Ahout Christmas day mo eniharkecl, and ten ship 
loads with ahout 4000 souls were sent to America.'^ From 
a later notice we learn that this was a full six months' 
vovage. Considering the condition of this living freight, 
the rude construction of sailing vessels and the season of 
the year, we cannot well exaggerate the misery and suffer- 
ing of our Palatinate forefathers. And yet Conrad, who 
having l)een but thirteen years old at the time, did not 
forget to magnify the kindness of Providence through a 
record in his private j(Uirnal of this tenor : " Give thanks 
to the T.«ord, for His mercy endureth forever. Let the 
redeemed of the Lord say so, Avhom He hath redeemed? 
and gathered them out of the lands, east and west, north 
and south. They wandered in a solitary way. In the 
wilderness they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and 
thirsty, their souls fainted in them. Then they cried unto 
the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of 
their distress !'^ 

In what respect, we may ask, were the Puritans in 
advance of the Palatines? Neither in suffering nor in 
patience did the English excel the German pilgrims. We 
hail not the former less, but the latter more. 



COXRAD's father chief of the colony at LIVING- 

Queeu Anne had directed, with the acquiescence of the 
benevolent ^Mohawk Chiefs, that the goodly tract, on which 
Newberg and New Windsor subsequently rose, should be 
granted by Letters Patent to the Palatines, as best 
adapted for the founding of their homes, schools and 
churches — the triune characteristic of our forefathers' 
advent. Robert Hunter, Governor of Xew York, and 
Robert Livingstone, a wealthy landlord of the province, 
however, knew too well how to hold the emigrants in sus- 
pense and delay the consummation of the good intention 
of the royal heart, until those grounds should fall undt'r 
their own hands and control. They artfully and wickedly 
changed the course and destiny of the unsuspecting colony. 
Having anchored at Xew York on the 17th day of June, 
1710, the conspirators removed the Germans to Living- 
stone Manor by the following autumn, with the malicious 
design of owning and possessing living property. Hardly 
had the locating been effected, ere they imposed an annual 
ground rent for ten acres on every separate family. Then 
$33 were exacted j^c/* capita as passage moiu-y. Accord- 
ing to Franz Loeher's calculation this taxation would have 
netted the sum of S200,000 for the men-mongers. Like 

20 Tin-: \.\VK OF 

tlu' t;i>k.s wliicli the IO«i:y})(i:ni rule r> iiiijMKSi'd upon tlic 
Israclitrs, we ninv rctrnnl tlic l)iiriiiiiLr oll.-ir nnd the ciil- 
tivatinii of* li('m|), which tlit'so j^rccdy men exacted i'vom 
the (uTiiian eohmy at Liviiiu::st(Hie Mailer. Let u.s hear 
Conrad's own words, lest we niiu:hl falsely charge : ^' Here, 
in Livinirstone Manor, or, as it was called by the Gov- 
ernor, Jjdbeusfrinfi Manor, we were to hnrn tar and cul- 
tivate hemp to defray the ex])enses incurred by Queen 
Anne in briniriniz; us from Holland to En<»;land, and from 
Kni::land to America. We were directed by several Com- 
missioners, viz. : John Cast, Henry Meyer and Richard 
Leykott, who were })ut in authority over us by Rol)ert 
Hunter, Governor of New York." Who can refrain from 
recurring to the task-masters in Egypt ? Did we but 
have access to their names, we might place them most 
a] )positely aside of their modern successors. Hunter and 
Livingstone were cousin-germans in the bargain and sale. 
The grounds were to have been a free gift, and their 
passage was to have been a free passage likewise. It was 
simply an outrage. 

For a little while the colony toiled under the strange 
and galling yoke, rather than provoke the ire of their 
Pharaohs, in whose hands they found themselves, as clay 
in the potter's. But fjuietly a rebellion was brewing, and 
the soul of that rebellion was John Conrad Weiser, their 
Esquire and Corporal. To him had already been accorded 
the position of counsellor and leader during the voyage 
hither, and he now naturally led the movement of resist- 
ance, which resulted in the emancipation of the colony at 
Livingstone Manor in 1713. 

Quite pathetic is his sou's record in reference to this 
deliverance : " Many a time have they afflicted me from 


my youth^ may Israel now say, and the Germans of New 
York ; many a time have they afflicted me from my youth, 
yet they have not prevailed against me." — "They have 
ploughed upon my back ; they made long furrows." 

^^ Except the Lord build the house, they lalior in vain 
that build it." Xo pilgrim ever suifered more than the 
Palatinate pilgrims, nor with less blarney ! 



Conrad's father chief of the coeony at Scho- 

The Palatines confidently believed themselves to be 
in near ])r<)sj)ect of Schoharie Valley, the territory indi- 
cated and donated by Qneen Anne, at the suggestion and 
favor of the ]\I(jliawk Chiefs, who had witnessed their sad 
condition on the Blackmoors near London. Their sad 
discipline at Tiivingstone Manor dispelled their delusion. 
Then it was that they remembered the friendly Chiefs 
and their generous offer, with good Queen Anne's grant. 
Could not all those favors be revived ? Deputies were 
sent to the MohaAvks during the spring-tide of 1713. 
John Conrad Weiser was the first of seven deputies. 
AVithout awaiting the issue, the majority of the colony left 
tiieir village homes along the Hudson. These villages 
were Palatinate, the Camp, Germantown, the German 
Flats, Tarbush, Ancram and Kheinbeck. Some strayed 
aljout in isolation, others sojourning at Albany and Schen- 
ectady — all awaiting a report from the deputies. In No- 
vember the consent of the Indians was received. The 
valley was opened for their entrance for the consideration 
of §300. About one hundred and fifty families were con- 
sequently transferred to Schoharie, about forty English 
miles from Albany, in the spring of 1714. The sacrifice 
and toil incident to their second settling cannot be prop- 
erly realized, even after reading the graj)hic recital of the 
junior Conrad, which we here insert : " In the spring of 
1714 my father removed from Schenectady, where he had 


procured winter quarters for his family witli a man of tho 
first rank of the Maqua Xation (Meinterstcin), with aljout 
150 families in great poverty. One borrowed a horst' 
here, another there ; also a cow and some harness. With 
these things they joined together, until being suj)pli('d, 
though poorly. They broke ground enough to plant corn 
for their own use the next year. But this year our hun- 
ger was hardly endurable. Many of our feasts were of 
wild potatoes (oehmanada) and ground beans (otagraquara), 
which grew in abundance. We cut mallow and picked 
juniper berries. If we were in need of meal, we were 
obliged to travel from thirty-five to forty miles and beg it 
on trust. One bushel was gotten here and one more 
there, sometimes after an absence from one's starving fam- 
ily for two or three days. With sorrowful hearts and 
tearful eyes the morsel was looked for — and often did not 
come at all.'' 

And yet here an embryonic civilization was forming 
in the wilderness, which fruited in plenty and happiness. 
In the course of a few years the following villages sprang 
up : Gerlachsberg, Smithberg, Foxberg, Weisersberg, 
Brunnerberg, Hartmansberg and Upper Weisersberg. 
The names of the deputies were severally allotted to the 

Given a spot of ground, with poverty and hunger to 
boot, and the German will turn the desert into a garden. 
This is characteristic of his nature, which we see exhibited 
almost daily. 

The inner life of the settlement is shown us with a 
tinge of sarcasm in these words : "In those days there 
was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was 
right in his own eyes." Such a fellow-feeling renders 
men wondrous kind. 

24 Tin-: IJFE OF 



The story of Naboth's garden is a sad commentary on 
the covetousness of the human heart. There is tliis 
redeeming feature about the conduct of Ahab and Jezebel, 
though, that they offered an equivalent in money or 
another garden in exchange for it. This is more than can 
be said for Governor Robert Hunter and his mercenary 
coadjutors — the evil genii of the Germans. They per- 
mitted the unsophisticated and unsuspecting colony to 
remain in peaceful and prosperous possession of their 
newly acquired settlements, until their dwellings became 
homelike and attractive, their fields, meadows and gardens 
fruitful. Then, as the hawk pounces upon a dove-cote, 
these miserable, but powerful parties fell upon their vic- 
tims. And these were some of their pretexts : The Ger- 
mans' titles were defective ; they had no proof of Queen 
Anne's grant ; they had not flattered Governor Robert 
Hunter ; the Provincial Governor had long before sold 
their fruitful valley to seven landlords : Robert Living- 
stone, Meyndert Schuyler, John Schuyler, Peter Van 
Brughen, George Clark, the Provincial Secretary^ Doctor 
Steeds and Rip Van Dam. Surely these Germans must 
either fly or buy. 


The singular and suspicions part of the wliole transac- 
tion is that these are just seven landlords, one for every 
one of the seven settlements ! In the hmgiiage of the 
record " a great uproar arose both in Schoharie and Al- 
bany upon this notice/' In vain did the terrified and 
perplexed Germans cry out against the injustice of sueh 
technicalities and fraud. Of what avail were the plead- 
ings of the Queen's favor or the Indians' generosity ? Tlie 
ears and hearts of the voracious plunderers were deaf and 

The Palatines determined to delegate three Connnis- 
sioners to London. These were Weiser, Schaff and Wal- 

The Governor and his crew, in order to gain time, plot 
more effectually, and, perhaps, wholly prevent the depar- 
ture of the delegates, pretended to contemplate a favorable 
compromise. But suspicion and jealousy had now filled 
the minds of the Germans, and would not suffer them to 
brook delay. They secretly departed on their mission, at 
the expense of the colony, which was doubtless a burden 
for them to bear. 

Already in Delaware Bay they fell into the clutches of 
pirates. Their private purses were delivered, but not the 
trust money of the colony. They were subjected to severe 
trials. Weiser was bastinated three different times, in 
order to induce him to disgorge. But he was too firm to 
yield. Schaff told them they had their all, after which 
they were liberated without provision or suitable clothiug. 
They embarked a second time from Boston, after liavinii: 
begged or bought their outfit, and arrived in London poor, 
strange and helpless, only to find that good (^ueen Anne 
had died. 


ITunlcr Mild ('(»in)):niy liiid likewise despatched tlieir 
agents to Knu^land, who knew hut too well liow to mis- 
rejH'csent the (lernians as rel)els, as a jK'stiferous set and 
as enemies to the Crown. The German delegates were 
indieted and ini]insoned for debt. Tliey wrote for help, 
hnt their letters were int<?rce])ted. Finally the report of 
their sad lot reached the ears of their people at Schoharie, 
and money, gotten with sweat and toil, was forwarded — 
£70 for redemj)tion. The affairs Ccane before the " Lord's 
Commissioners of Trade and Plantations,'' too, and Gov- 
ernor Hunter was recalled. Walrath grew tired and 
embarked for home, but died at sea. 

Nothing daunted, the remaining two petitioned anew, 
and succeeded at last in having an order issued to the 
newly commissioned Governor, William Burnet, to grant 
" vacant lands to all the Germans who had been sent to 
New York by the deceased Queen Anne." 

In 1721 Schaff and Weiser had a quarrel. The former 
would no longer submit to Weiser's dictation, and returned. 
His son, Conrad, says : "/S^e hatten beide hai^te Koepfe.^^ 
Six months after his return Schaff died. 

John Conrad Weiser returned in 1723, after an absence 
of four years of suffering and sacrifice in the interest of 
the colony. 

The new Governor felt like conciliatino^ the disaffected 
parties, but they w^ere nevertheless obliged to see their 
best acres abandoned or retained at enormous prices. 
Some made a virtue out of necessity and fell in with the 
new order, even at the expense of their manhood. Others 
would rather scatter here and there over the province. 
But Weiser could not trust any longer. Whilst his son 
was coming forward and assumed a conspicuous part, the 


elder could not fit himself into the existing circumstances. 
He quietly planned another exodus, whicli, th(>ugh resuh- 
ing in a failure for himself, as all his projects had jjmvcn 
since he left Gross-Aspach, was a happy enterprise i'ov his 
son in the end. 



Conrad's fatiieu j.eads a colony to tulpehocken, 
pennsylvania. his return and wan- 
dering, iils vlsit to tulpe- 
hocken. his death. 

About this time, 1723, His Excellency, William Keith, 
Ilaronet Governor of Pennsylvania, had been staying in 
Albanv. liearins: of the unrest of the Germans in that 
province and anxious to draw them into his own, he lost 
no time to inform them of the freedom and justice that 
were accorded to their countrymen in Pennsylvania. It 
is even intimated that Governor Keith secretly meditated 
the founding of an independent state. 

The manuscript record of the younger Conrad Weiser 
relates the following : ^' The people got news of the land 
on the Swatara and Tulpehocken, in Pennsylvania.'^ 
Many of them united and cut a road from Schoharie to 
the Sus({uehanna river, carried their goods there and made 
canals, and floated down the river to the mouth of the 
Swatara, driving their cattle over land. This happened 
in the spring of the year 1723. From thence they came 
to Tulpehocken, and this was the origin of the settle- 
ment.'^ A colony of some sixty families located princi- 
pally in Heidelberg township. In the Schivcebische Kronik, 
March 8, 1868, it is asserted, on the authority of Fr. 
Kapp's " History of German Emigration to America,'^ that 


John Conrad Weiser piloted this small colony to Tulju'- 
hocken, and that after a still further activity, during 
twenty more years, he died among his children and gnmd- 
children in 1746. It seems that the opening and closing 
items of the relation are correct, whilst the important 
omission that he did not remain at Tulpehocken, leaves us 
under a wholly wrong impression. It has ever been a 
saying, on what authority we know not, that it had been 
his intention to commence the world anew on this theater. 
He came with the colony as a leader and pioneer, it was 
said. But the crowd proved too anarchical for him. Con- 
rad wrote in 1745, whether with special or exclusive refer- 
ence to this occasion we know not : '^Es war Niemand 
unter dem Volk, der es regieren Jconnte. Ein Jeder thd^ 
teas er wollte, und ihr starker Eigensinn hat ihnen bis aiif 
diese Stunde im Wege gestanden.^' His older children 
being married and settled in New York, it may be that 
he returned to his former territorv after a little while. Be 
this as it may, we know that he did not remain here. 

"Der Hallische Nachrichter^' contains this item from 
the pen of the Patriarch Pastor INIuhlenberg : " In the 
year 1746 came my wife's grandfather to my house ; he 
had resided in New York since 1710, and lately on the 
borders of New England. He had left that country on 
account of the dangers which he apprehended from the 
French and Indians who had lately nuirdered several Ger- 
man families. Moreover, he was also anxious to see his 
children and grandchildren, to converse with them on tlie 
subject of religion and to spend his last days unmolestedly 
among his kindred in Pennsylvania. He was very infirm 
and frail when he came, and was confined in bed for some 
time after his arrival. After he had been somewhat cun- 

30 THE l-IT E OF 

valoscciit, liis son, Connid, my fatlicr-iii-lnw, who resided 
at 1 1 ei<l (11 )('!'<:;, fifty miles ofV, seni a wji^oii with suitable 
l)e(l(liii(r for them. lie reaclKMl Hcidclhcru with miieh 
dithciilty : lived hut n >hort time afterwards with his sou, 
and fell asleep in (Icath in the presenee of his weeping 
children and grandchildren." — (/\npp\^ translation,) His 
age is estimated at 86 years. 

Thus ends tlie long, active life of John Conrad Weiser, 
Senior. After an almost unl)roken pilgrimage of thirty- 
six years in the New AYorld, he dies helpless and poor in the 
house of his son. One could wish him to have had greater 
success for his many and heavy sacrifices. A sterling, 
good man he showed himself to be. And, alas ! so little 
fruit to enjoy. Was it the mistake of his lifetime to leave 
his country and kindred, at his age, and in his widowed 
state, wdth his large family of motherless children ? Or, 
was he to be a forerunner to his son, who should thus have 
an open field to labor prepared for him ? Or, again, did 
he but fly from evils wdiich he knew, to lesser ones he 
knew not of? 

His son finds the key to all his misfortunes in his ill- 
fated second marriage, as we shall presently see. 

His remains are presumed to lie entombed in the grave- 
yard adjoining the Tulpehocken church. The tomb, it 
seems, is no longer to be distinguished among the many 
in that locality. The Rev. Dr. C. H. Leinbach and son, 
and Louis A. \yollenweber, Esq., of Womelsdorf, have 
searched for it in vain, doubtless because a stone is want- 
ing or its inscription proves no longer legible. 




It will doubtless create a surprise, bordering close on a 
protest, indeed, to be told at this late day that the pre- 
uomen, John, attaches properly to the historical Conrad 
Weiser — thus rendering him a full namesake of his father, 
John Conrad Weiser. Because he opens his autobiogra- 
phy in this wise : " I, Conrad Weiser, was born, etc.^' ; 
and as he never, on any occasion, among the many that 
called forth his signature, records his name more largely, 
the public naturally took and tenaciously held to plain 
Conrad Weiser. Whether it was merely conventional, or 
in order to distinguish father and son, without dragging 
on the lubberly affix, ^'' Junior ^^ we will not decide. But 
all discussion is cut short, and all doubt must vanish 
before the face of the Baptismal Record, ^vhich Pastor 
Eisenhart deciphered and forwarded. That reads : '^ John 
Conrad.'^ The date and place of birth are, however, not 
noted with the entry of his name. This want Conrad su^)- 
plies in his autobiography. He tells us that he was born 
at Afstaedt, which is a small village in Herrenberg, a 
county contiguous to that of Backnang, Wurtemberg, '■' on 
the 2d day of November, A. D. KiOG.^' He is careful, 
too, to note that he ^^ was'^ baptized in the church in Kue|>- 
pingen, on the 12th day of the same month and year. 
Kueppingen was the nearest church town to Afstaedt. 


T^istor Kiscnliart l>:ul llic fi^oodnoss to address a letter of 
in(|uirv to the l^irtor at Kn('j)i)in<z;en, and received the fol- 
lowing rej)ly :* 

"RovAL Parsonagp:, Kueppfngen. 

** In tlie liaptismal Record of tins place, which also 
contains the hirth notices of Afstaedt, the name of Weiser 
is not to be discovered, whether ten years previous or ten 
years subsecpient to 1696. From yonr remarks I think 
tliis rcmarkal)le, indeed. With sincere regrets for not 
being able to serve you, and recij)rocating most heartily 
your kind regards, I remain, very truly, 

" KuEPPiNCiEN, Feb. 15, 1871. Pastor Eckstein." 

* The following letter Pastor Eisenhart had addressed to Pastor Eckstein : 

"A clergyman in America, Pastor Weiser, who is a descendant of an old 
family of Gross-Aspach, some members of which emigrated to America in 
1709, has respectfully asked me to furnish him with the records of his lineage 
as far back as it is possible to cull them from the church books, since he is 
minded to frame a Genealogical Tree, and to arrange the chain of his ances- 
tors. I find, however, that one of the chief characters in line had resided in 
Afstaedt, viz : John Conrad Weiser, who is styled a Baker and Corporal ; and 
his son, who is of the same name, and played a prominent part in America, 
it seems, was born there. And besides him, some of his brothers and sisters 
must have been born in Afstaedt, namely : Maria Catherine, Anna Margaret, 
Anna Magdelena, Maria Sabina— the fifth child would then be John Conrad. 
All the^e were born prior to 1699. During this year the family seems to have 
taken up its residence in this place again. I ask, accordingly, in case the 
church books extend back so far, to inform me of the dates of the births of the 
said children, and also of the title the father bears ou the Baptismal Record. 
In the enclosed paper, in which the * fata' of the Weiser family in America 
are mentioned, he is denominated a Chief Magistrate, though he is on the 
Record before me merely designated a Baker and Corporal. Had he perhaps 
been appointed to this higher position in Afstaedt? 

" Whilst I, in advance, return my thanks for the desired contributions, 
and for the return of the enclosed slip, I embrace the opportunity, at the S'ime 
time, of sending the warmest greetings of the inmates of the parsonage in 
Gross-Aspach, to the honored dwellers in the parsonage at Kueppingen, and 
on the score of old friendship, subscribe myself very respectfully, 

" Your most obedient, 

"Gross-Aspach, Feb. 10, 1871. PASTOR EISENHART." 


Eisenhart says, in his letter : "I was especially anx- 
ious to know whether John Conrad \Yeiser, the elder, had 
not been a Chief Magistrate in Afstaedt, since he is so 
styled in the Schwa eh ische Kronik und Jferkur, which I 
likewise enclose ; though he is merely denoniinatc<l a 
baker by trade, and a Corporol of the Blue Dragon, in the 
Records before me.'' 

But whether we can account for the silence of the 
Record at Kueppingen or not, Conrad tells us all we need 
know in the words : " My father so informed me." This 
is, we may safely say, all the authority that most men 
have for believing that they were born and baptized in 
some certain place. His name appears on the Baptismal 
Record in Gross-Aspach as that of the fifth child born t< > 
John Conrad and Anna Magdalena Weiser, without date 
or place, as before mentioned. Eisenhart surmises the 
five eldest children to have been born at Afstaedt during 
the father's temporary residence there. An intelligent 
German informs us that government officials are accus- 
tomed to enter items of domestic historv in the church 
books of their ^^ Yater Stadt," no matter in what locality 
they may have transpired. It is fair to surmise, then, 
that the elder Conrad Weiser removed from Gross-Aspach, 
in Backnang, to Afstaedt, in the adjoining county of Her- 
renberg, discharging there the duties of his office until 
1699, in which year we find him back again in Gross- 
Aspach, and the birth of his sixth child entered as ot^cur- 
ring there. 

The pietistic and biblical complexion of the man reveals 
itself throughout his ^Manuscript Journal, in the Scriptural 
selections which he appends to every paragraph. lb' 
crowns the entry of his nativity with such passages, to 

34 THE T,irE OF 

wit : " I will pPMi^c 'Plicc, for I niii rcarrully and wouder- 
fiillv inixdv. Marvelous arc Thy works; and that my 
sonl knowcth ri<dit well. iMv substance was not hid from 
'riirc, when I was niailc in secret, and curiously wrought 
in the lowest ])arts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my 
substance yet being iini)ertcct, and in 'J'hy book all my 
members were written, wdiich in continuance were fash- 
ioned when as yet there was none of them. How precious 
also are Thy tlionglits unto me. O God, how great is the 
sum of them." 



Conrad's arrival in America, his stay with the 

maqua indians. 

Conrad was nearing the close of his fourteenth year, 
when his father, a widower Avith eight chikh-en, landed at 
New York — three sisters being older, and three brothers 
and one sister younger than himself. About the close of 
November, 1713, a Chief of the Maqua Nation* — wlioni 
his father learned to know favorably, during his visit t(j 
Albany, on his mission of negotiation for Schoharie Val- 
ley — made a friendly stay in the family. This Chief was 
called Quagnant or Guinant. Manifesting a fondness for 
the lad, he besought the father's consent to take him to 
his own people. The elder Conrad, knowing the Chief as 
trustworthy, and the younger Conrad feeling no longer 
any home attraction, in consequence of his step-mother's 
entrance into the household, the strange recjuest of C Quag- 
nant was acquiesced in. 

Here we must, as we also happily may, allow liini to 
tell his own experience: "I went accordingly, on my 
father's request. I endured a great deal of cold in my 
situation, and by spring my hunger surpassed the coKl l)y 
much, although I had but poor clothing. On account of 
the scarcity of provision amongst the IniHans, corn was 
then sold for five and six shillings a busheL Tlie hwHans 

* The Maquas were the Six Nations. 

^{] Tuv: ^^VK of 

wnv oftentimes s<» iiiloxieiited, tli;it lor (ear of'lteinjj: ninr- 
(lend I -(MM'eteil mvself ninoiiLT tli(» Imshes." 

It ]u\\>\ not !)(' overlnoked tliat Conrad liad liy this 
time entere<l n]M>n his soventoentli yeai'. His stay eontiii- 
ned diiriiiir eii:;l>t months, in which period the foundation 
to his future liistory and ciliciency was well laid. Ilun- 
<Tor, thirst, eold, lyiuLT in ambushes, entering on foot races 
and chases — courses in such exercises developed lungs, 
])one and muscle, without a bountiful sup])ly of which the 
necessary endurance for his subsequent marches over trail- 
ing paths for miles and miles would never have come to 
him. Conrad Wciser had a call to a mission, and this 
Indian experience was the " college" in which his qualifi- 
cations were developed. 

Beside, Conrad AVeiser during his eight months' tui- 
tion under Quagnant rendered himself familiar with In- 
dian life — their manners, ways and habits ; their instincts, 
likes and dislikes ; their language — all of which consti- 
tuted a higher order of education for his future work. 
This was civil-service-reform, however it7icivilized. We 
question whether the United States government, or any 
of our state governments, has ever had an official or pub- 
lic functionary wdio was better qualified for his post than 
Conrad Weiser proved. Perhaps when the world mend- 
ers and government tinkers are all dead, statesmen will 
take a step backward, in order to get on in all matters 
pertaining to our Indian affairs. 

Conrad Weiser proved an apt pupil under Chief Quag- 
nant. Hear him tell : " During the latter end of July I 
returned again to my father's, from my Indian home. I 
had acquired a tolerable beginning, and, in flxct, under- 
stood the greater part of the Maqua tongue.'' 


He had at once occasion to apply liis knowle(l«<;c in 
this direction under tlie homestead roof: "About one Knir- 
lish mile from my father's dwelling (at Schoharie) reside<l 
a few families of the Maqua tribe ; and oftentimes a num- 
ber of that Xation passed to and fro on their hunting 
expeditions. It frequently happened that disputes arose 
between the high-mettled Germans and members of this 
tawny Nation. On such occasions I was immediately sent 
for, to interpret for both parties. I had a good deal of 
business, but no pay. Xone of my people understo<Kl 
their language, excepting myself, and by much exertion I 
became perfect, considering my age and circumstances." 

How rapidly did not this singular episode in the young 
man's life unfold its meaning I Providence indicated the 
open door. The Chief is an unconscious instrument in the 
employ of the higher motor. The farseeing and thought- 
ful father discerned and intelligently interpreted the fact. 
The vouth voluntarily lends himself to this combination 
of circumstances. In eight short months Conrad ^^'eiser 
is prepared to serve as benefactor to two races for a period 
of nearly fifty years — in a manner as Joseph served both 
the Israelites and the Egyptians. Do we not lose the 
emphasis and force, in a large measure, of Scriptural nar- 
rative by isolating those sacred incidents and contining 
God's remarkable interventions to a flir remote peri<Kl ? 
Those holy relations are not written for after ages, because 
nothing similar had occurred before, perhaps, or will there- 
after, but rather since they have a prophetic bearing upon 
the Redeemer of the world, in whose interest only " Holy 
Writ" has a concern. " I am th(> T.ord, I change not." 
It is in this way that we may inter[)ret many profane 

38 THE LIFE or 

oocnrrcnros wltliout IxToiniiiLj: wicked. A pruround stu- 
(k'ut nt'tlic r)il)l(' is, ]>('rlin])s, Ix'st (|ii:ilifi('(l to ])econio a 
historian. Is not Holy Writ ;i pliotugra])li of history? 
Historv (Iocs r(^])ont itself, l)ut not so as to be a mere tau- 




\Yhen Conrad had attained to his fifteenth }-ear, his 
step-mother entered the household, in 1711. We cannot 
tell her name. She was a German emigrant, and of the 
province of Xew York. We judge her to have been lier 
husband's junior by much, since she survived him by 
many years. Her step-son does not speak kindly of her. 
We will let the reader judge from what has been already 

After his return from the Maqua tribe, a spell of sick- 
ness came over him in consequence, doubtless, of his 
change of living. This he relates, but not without reflect- 
ing severely on his father's second wife. "Alxnit this 
time I became very sick, and expected to die ; and was 
willing to die, for my step-mother was indeed a step- 
mother to me. By her influence my father treated me 
veiy harshly. I had no friend, and had to bear hunger 
and cold. I had frequently, during my sickness, made 
my determination to desert from my father, after my 
recovery, but the bit of the bridle had been hiid so tight 
to my mouth that I gave up this resolution. I was tied 
with a cord to prevent me from running away. I was 
severely chastised by my father, and finally took another 
resolution." This time, it seems, he executed his design, 
since we find him no later under his father's roof. We 


arc sorrv that ( onrad W'eiscr Irft tliis portion of his 
inanuscript record to remain. Thcic i.s no excuse forliiiii, 
aftor liis experience with the Maqua Indians, and near his 
t\vcnti(>t]i year, to thus reflect on his father's wife, and, 
throuirij her, on liis father, wlio certainly Iiad proven him- 
self a very worthy man. 

The benevolence of biographers is infinite, it is said. 
This must be taken as a hyperbole, in the present instance. 
AVe do not feel like suffering his harsh words to pass 
unrebuked. It appears that every step-child feels itself 
fully licensed to berate its step-mother. By what style of 
exegesis a step-mother is excluded from the embrace of 
the first command with promise, we know not. Certain it 
is that step-mothers bear a very different reputation from 
that borne by step-fathers, or any parental characters of 
whatever sort. They, alas ! constitute a race of women 
who have ^^ no rights which we are bound to respecf 
From Conrad Weiser's unwise entry one feels like squat- 
ting them lower than the Maquas. And that a man, who 
proved himself so prudent and wise during a long and 
trying life, should have contributed anything towards 
strengthening this foolish and harmful prejudice, is to be 
regretted. We might excuse him for his imprudence on 
the score of youthfulness, had he but in maturer years 
recorded an explanatory clause. But even his son records 
her demise (1781) without erasing his cruel Avords. 

The proverb runs : "A step-mother makes a step- 
father.'' Perhaps, by extending our vision a little fur- 
ther back, we might learn that it is the father that is the 
occasion and cause of the step-mother, since he enjoys the 
prerogative of conducting her into the family. And once 
there, that father is as much bound to " protect'' his sec- 


oncl wife, or step-mother, even though it be hi.s own 
natural children, as he is required to shield her against 
any one's assaults. Whilst we would certainly exjK'ct 
such a father to consider duly his surroundings and rela- 
tions, ere he leads any " strange woman" to his hearth 
and heart, yet, when the measured step has been taken, 
we will honor him all the more for asserting, in spirit and 
conduct, that he does not intend the spyder-and-fiy phi- 
losophy to animate the life of his home. 

We have a suspicion, from the manner in which Con- 
rad entangles his father, that the elder Conrad \Veiser 
intended to be master in his own house. It may be taken 
for granted, judging from his heroic conduct at Living- 
stone Manor and Schoharie, that he was fully able to con- 
duct his family matters after an average rule of right. 
The younger Conrad, it may likewise be supposed, had 
become wilful, as it were, and free without becoming of 
age, and thus rendered the discipline of his father some- 
what severe. The elder Weiser had come from a country 
in which the parents governed the children. Here is a 
picture of our Puritan ancestors, which applies e(pially 
well to our Palatinate forefathers : 

" They were too stern, we acknowledge, and rigid ; 
they knew little or nothing of the gentleness and sweet- 
ness of the gospel ; but they maintained family govern- 
ment, and trained up their children to honor and obey 
their parents, to be honest and upright. Their sons grew 
up with strong and manly characters, patterned ai'ter their 
fathers, and tilled worthily their places, when they were 
gone, in the family, in society, in the church, and in the 
state. There is no use in denying it, private and public 
virtue was the rule ; men and women, With rarely an 


exception, were loyal to their trusts, and could be relied 

Such a man and lather we believe the elder Wciser to 
Jiave been. And as Conrad was reared by him, and 
proved a true man, he is his own best refutation. 

We know of step-mothers who excelled many natural 
mothers. ]\Iany of the former class, too, dare not venture 
half way up to the privileges and duties of their station, 
lest they be tabood by the children of their husbands, who 
are instigated and encouraged thereto by meddlesome 
neighbors and a vitiated public conscience. We are ready 
to affirm that many noble-hearted women have entered 
family groups of motherless children with the lofty motive 
and holy determination to be mothers indeed, who were, 
however, confronted by so fierce a prejudice against them- 
selves, both within and without the homes, as to break 
down and die broken-hearted — and solely because they 
occupied the position in question. Either the practice of 
choosing step-mothers should cease on the part of wifeless 
fathers, or the said fathers should resolve to prove some- 
w^hat more valiant knights to the women who enter their 
castles at their own urgent entreaties. Then, it may be, 
the position of step-mother will no longer fall under par, 
because the character, conduct and spirit of steio-children 
will stand at a higher premium. 




The motherless children of the elder Conrad Weiscr 
had been separated and scattered over the province of New- 
York already from the day of his second marriage, as the 
younger Conrad states. .Having informed us that his eld- 
est sister^ Mrs. Boss, remained in the homestead in (iross- 
Aspach, he relates further that two of his brothers, George 
Frederick and Christopher Frederick, " were bound out, 
in 1711, by the Governor of Xew York, with the consent 
of my father, to a gentleman on Long Ishuid." He speaks 
of another thus : " My youngest brother, John Frederick, 
died in about the sixth year of his life, during the month 
of December of tlie same year (1711), and was buried at 
Livingstone Manor, ' in the country ^^ as the j)eopk' caUed 
it. His tomb was the first by the spot where the Re- 
formed church now stands.'' X sister became the wife of 
a Mr. Picket, Avhose son, John, Conrad subsequently rec- 
ommended, in 1750, to the ^lahawks, ''as well suited to 
learn their language, ,.nd serve them after 1 should grow 
too old." 

Conrad left his father's house during 17b'i-14 for an 
Indian town, about eight miles south of Schoharie. Here 
he resided until he left for Pennsvlvania, in 17*J1>. n<' 


was omplovcd, like llic vast niajoritv of liis CJornian fcl- 
lows, in ao^ricultiiiT under its rudest form. W'itli only a 
limited education, hut of an energetic and brave spirit, he 
filled tiie position of a school-master, and thus, in the 
course of fifteen years, secured to himself a solid and use- 
ful self-culture, whilst he was teaching rudiments to his 
wards. Conrad AVeiser was eminently a self-made man, 
so far as this is possible for one. 

Here, too, Conrad Weiser opened his own family his- 
tory. Of this event he speaks plainly : ^^ In 1720, while 
my father was in England, I married my Anna Eve ; and 
was given in marriage by Rev. John Frederick Hrcger, 
Reformed clergyman, on the 22d of November, in my 
father's house, at Schoharie.^'* The maiden name of his 
wife we have never found mentioned ; nor has any one 
else, so far as we could learn. Were we open to gossip, 
we might give full heed to the current and somewhat 
romantic tradition that Conrad Weiser had married a 
Mohawk Indian maiden. The invariable absence of her 
patronymic, coupled with the fact of his earlier and later 
residence among the Maqua people, constitutes the basis 
of the strange surmise. The fact or fancy that the imme- 
diate descendants of the pair had always been distin- 
guished by straight raven-colored hair and a bronzed com- 
plexion, came in as an after-thought, and served as a very 
handy support to the view agoing. It was mooted, too, that 
the primitive name. Eve, ^vas ominous of the conceived 
idea ; and that it was designedly chosen, in order, on the 
one side, to ignore her former Indian origin, and, on the 

* The colony extended along both sides of the Hudson. Pastor John 
Frederick Haiger officiated on one side, and Pastor Joshua Koeherthaler on 
the other. 


other, to indicate her incipient motlierhootl to a difforont 

It is not well to fly in the face of an old creed, if it is 
in any wise supported by reasonable credentials. Never- 
theless, we hesitate not to write down Mrs. Anna P^ve 
Weiser as a full-blooded Palatine woman. It is easy 
to account for the rise and onward flow of the story of 
Conrad Weiser s Mohawk wife. His silence touchinu^ her 
patronymic made it necessary for his posterity to go in 
search of it. As Indians wear no family cognomen, tlie 
notion that she might have been an Indian lay nearer, 
and proved easier to harbor, than to successfully ferret 
out the lost name. The organ for marvelous conception, 
besides, is large in many ; and nothing proves more 
attractive than Indian romance, in proportion to the dis- 
tance exactly. 

Whilst we cannot adduce a record, or any positive and 
direct testimony against the partially accepted Action, 
there is yet much strong circumstantial proof to the con- 
trary, which mars and spoils the romance for us. Con- 
ceding the truth of the singular saying for a moment, 
how are we to account for the almost entire ignorance of 
the mother's vernacular, on the part of their chil- 
dren, at least ? Had it been indeed the mother-tongue of 
the household, then it is fair to suppose that the Mohawk 
dialect midit have become a family parlance more or 
less; and the older sons and daughters would naturally 
have taken it up in a measure. And yet, Samuel even is 
found to be too imperfectly ac(iuainted with the Indian 
tongue to be efliciently employed by the government, in 
the room of his deceased father, after the fairest trial had 
been afforded him. His daughter, Mrs. Heintzelman, on 


tlio word ol'lirr fatlicr, *' iiiulcrstood only licrc and tlicrt; 
a \v(H'd, IVoni hcarinu; tlic Indians talk at lionie." Nur 
has tlic learned world derived any contribution of AFo- 
liawk lore, even tlirouu;li tlie scholarly Muhlenl)er<j^ line, 
though Mrs. Anna Maria Muhlenberg was Conrad Wei- 
scr's eldest daughter I In no child of the Indian inter- 
preter has any knowledge of the supposed ??io^^6r-tongue 
cropped out. Conrad had practically learned the Maqua 
language in his early youth, as we have seen, and had 
found an almost unbroken occasion to use it officially dur- 
ing a long life. This fact, of itself, would not warrant 
ns to expect even an acquaintance with a strange tongue, 
in the offspring, much less a familiarity. The language 
of court, government, or office, does not generally invade 
the precincts of the home. But let that tongue be the 
inherited one by the wife and mother, and flow from her 
lips, then the children wdll betray it, let them deny it 
never so persistently. 

As for the straight, black hair and the dark hue of 
Conrad Weiser's immediate offspring, little stress should 
be laid on it. The stride between the premises and the 
conclusion is a fearfully long one. Thomas Corwin once 
said : " No man ought to be so impertinent as to allude 
to the Abolition theme in the presence of a man of my 
own complexion !" Still, Thomas Corwin's mother was 
not an Indian woman. It would, indeed, prove a difficult 
task to find a sufficient number of Indian maidens to 
mother all the offspring of sombre, tawny hue. A hair 
is a slender thing to run a distinction on, and a shade is 
a fickle thino;. 

The fact that the Indians characterized Conrad Weiser 
as '^ one-half a Seven Nation Indian and one-half an Eng- 


lishman/^ seems to support the romantic theory. JJut 
even this double claim is satisfied by the circumstances of 
his birth and adoption. It is ever so interpreted and 
explained by the responses of the different Governors and 
officials, in councils and conferences. Besides, his feHow 
interpreter, Shekallamy, an Indian, is spoken of in like 
terms, who certainly had not been wedded to a white 

A much more likely explanation for the absence of 
Anna Eve's family name is that she had been an inden- 
tured orphan girl, whose parents had either died during 
her early infancy, or whose parentage had been ignored 
in consequence of her indentured condition. Such an 
accident befel the young not seldom, during the unorgan- 
ized and unfixed state of society, of her maiden days. 
The lot of the " redemptioner'' was a sad lot in more than 
one respect. We have heard it said that Conrad Weiser 
called his bride " My Anna Eve,'' for the very good rea- 
son that neither he nor she could tell what more to call 

We, therefore, call for the record. And until that is 
produced, or its equavalent, we will permit John Kolfc, 
the handsome English planter of Virginia, to remain 
alone in the glory of having won and wedded the Indian 
maiden, Pochahontas — however inviting a basis the low 
whisper affords him to build his romance upon, wlio prides 
himself over the imaginary Indian blood coursing through 
his veins. (See note, next jKtge.) 

Here four of his children were born — Philip, Fred- 
erick, Anna Maria and Madlina. 

Aside of his domestic calling, as farmer and peda- 
gogue, he had acquired some skill as a lapidary. There 


is in oiir jioHsossion a stone liandle to a riding-whip, wliich 
onr lorcfhthors have ever highly prized and carefully 
secnred, becanse it was the workmanship of Conrad Wei- 
ser. Jt is of an octag(jiial i'orni, and very high polish. 
This, with a large mirror and a heavy silver spoon, con- 
stitntes our whole collection of souvenirs of the man, 
though other members of his line, it is said, retain a larger 
and rarer cabinet. 

During his father's absence in England, and after 
1723, Conrad seems to have taken a conspicuous place in 
Provincial affairs. Familiar with the Mohawk tongue, 
be stood between the Indians and the English, as w^ell as 
between the English and the Germans, in all matters oi 
intercourse or dispute ; whilst the active part his sire had 
taken during his active life at Livingstone and Schoharie 
had initiated him early into the secret of shielding his 
own countrymen against the tricks and encroachments of 
government officials. ^' In the commencement of the year 
1721,'' says he, '^ I was sent wdth a petition to the newly 
arrived Governor Burnet.^' In such like transactions he 
bore a diligent hand for about a decade of years, when he 
left the province. 

* We find the following extract recorded in an old family Bible, which we 
insert here, without being able, however, to vouch for its correctness : 

" Kev. Mr. Muhlenberg, likewise, writes in the Halliache Nachrichten : 
* Our young interpreter remained back and entered into matrimony with a 
German Christian maiden, of Evangelical parentage, in 1720.' " 




Six years after his father's pioneer visit to this prov- 
ince, at the head of a colony of perhaps sixty families, 
and nine years after his marriage, Conrad Weiser arrived 
at Tnlpehocken, being now thirty-three years old. We 
are not left in doubt as to the time and place of his 
advent. '^ In 1729 I removed to Pennsylvania and set- 
tled at Tulpehocken.'^ Here, in this valley, in the town- 
ship of Heidelberg — named after a city in south Germany, 
in the duchy of Baden — one-half mile east of the town of 
Womelsdorf, he located his permanent residence, in the 
year when Independence Hall was commenced. His 
chief aim was to be a farmer, as we infer, both from his 
own later declarations and the extent of agricultural acres 
which gradually came into his possession — numbering 
nearly one thousand acres, during a period of thirty years. 
But the circumstances of the country at that time and the 
peculiar qualifications of the man did not attbrd him such 
seclusion. There is a divinity in the affairs of men, com- 
munities -and thingcs which manifests itself in the law of 
demand and supply — in that law of compensation which 
provides organs and agents for every legitimate emer- 
gency. The intermingling of Indians, English and Ger- 
man people challenged the presence and service of just 


siicli a mail, as a solution to the roniplication of cir(;iini- 
stances. And here a_»>:ain was fiiKillcd that saying, " There 
standeth one among you." 

Conrad Weiser first appears in the charaeter of a vol- 
unteer inter[)reter for the Couneil of Pennsylvania and 
several Indians. Shekallamy* finds him, already in 
1731, in the wilds of Tulpehoeken, and prevails on him 
to aecompany him to Philadelphia. Here Governor Gor- 
don, likely, learned to know and appreciate him. The 
sum of forty shillings was accorded him on this occasion 
for his free-will services. Under date of December, 1731, 
we find the following entry made in the account of the 
Provincial Treasurer : " To cash, by order of the Board, 
paid to Conrad Weiser, who, at Shekallamy's desire, 
attended him from Tulpehocken, £2, lis." After this 
introduction he remains continually in the public eye. 
A like order to the one just mentioned is recorded as hav- 
ing been honored March, 1732, for £3, 13s., 5d., for ser- 
vices rendered to the Shawnese Indians and the province. 

But the way was now opening for a more public and 
significcnt station. In the month of August, 1732, the 
Six Nationsf express themselves as " very desirous that 
there may be more frequent opportunities of conferring 

* Shekallamy was an agent for the Five or Six Nations, and resided at 
Shamokin. He is spoken of " as a trusty and good man, and a great lover of 
the English." In 1756, on Feb. 24, his son spoke in these words concerning 
him, in Philadelphia: " My father, who, it is well known, was all his life a 
hearty and steady friend to the English, and to this province in particular, 
charged his children to follow his steps and to remain always true to the Eng- 
lish, who had been ever kind to him and his family." 

t The " Four," " Five" and "Six Nations" were an Indian Union, formed 
by the following tribes : M aqua (Mohawks), Onondagos, Senekas, Oneydas, 
Tuskaroras, Cayoogas, Conrad Weiser says these lived from 200 to 500 miles 
from Lancaster, Pa. They are spoken of as the Iroquois, and for the most. 


and discoursing with their brothers, and that these may 
be managed by the means of Shekalhimy and Conrad 
Weiser.'^ On the foHowino; dav the Indians say that 
^^ they would be pleased to have an answer to their prnpo- 
sition.'' The Governor replied as follows: *'As to what 
you have said about employing Shekallamy and Couni<l 
Weiser, on which you gave the first strings ofM'arapnni,* 
we are very glad you agree with us in the choice of so 
good men to go between us. We believe them to be very 
honest, and will with cheerfulness employ them." The 
Council then presented the sum of £12 to Conrad Weiser 
" for accompanying and being very careful of the Indians 
on their way from Tulpehocken ; and for having been 
extremely useful in framing an initiatory treaty with 
them.^^ It is also said, to the honor of the man, that 
^' because the men were not only \ery acceptable to the 
Indians, as appeared by their late recommendation of 
them, but likewise seemed to be persons of truth and hon- 
esty, all due encouragement should be given them." Hav- 
ing thus secured the good will of the Provincial OtHcials 
and Indian Chiefs, by his native excellence and faithful- 
ness, he is the acceptable mediator, henceforth, between 
the waxine and waniuo; races. Conrad Weiser, acconi- 
ingly, in the course of three years, steps out of his Tul- 

part dwelt in the northern portion of the United States— near the great laken, 
in Xew York, etc. Onondago was their Council Ground, whither the delegates 
came annually or semi-annually to deliberate on general affairs. Their con- 
ventions were said to have been quite edifying. 

* A Belt of Wampum is a leathern string, on which are threaded white 
and violet shells, which are found on the coasts of New England and Virginia, 
and are cut into beads of an oblong form. It is a very solemn instrument 
among the Indians, as well as an ornamental wearing. It signifies a leag^e 
of friendship, a ratification, a mark of honor, etc. 


poliockoii obscurity into the position of an olTicial and 
historical character. 

William l\'nn and Conrad Wciser are two men, at 
least, of whom the Indians think and speak well. It is 
not too much to say that the pacific spirit of Penn was 
perjK'tuated by Weiser, and that the fair name of our 
Commonwealth, touching our treatment of the Indians, is 
perhaps as much owing to the fine policy of the latter as 
it is to the amiable mind of the former. 



OF THE PEACE. 1732 1743. 

From the year 1732, when George Washincrton was 
born, we may regard Conrad AVeiser the officially recog- 
nized interpreter of Pennsylvania. President Logan says, 
October 12, 1736 : " Conrad Weiser and Shekallamy were, 
by the treaty of 1732, appointed fit and proper persons 
to go between the Six Nations and this government, and 
to be employed in all transactions with one another ; 
" whose bodies," the Indians say, ^' were to be equally 
divided between them and us, we to have one-half and 
they the other.'^ They say " they have always found 
Conrad faithful and honest. He is a good and true man, 
and has spoken their words and our words — not his own." 
The Indians have presented him with a dressed skin to 
make him shoes, and two deer skins to keep him warm." 

The provinces of Virginia, Maryland and New York 
employed him in a like capacity, somewhat later. On 
the side of the Indians all Tribes and Nations engaged 
him, and there w^as no important negotiation transacted, 
involving the interests of both races, in which he was not 
made use of. Durino; the interval between 17;)2 and 
1736 the messengers of the Six Nations were constantly 
pasing to and fro, in order to bring the treaty to a ratifica- 
tion. Conrad Weiser is the pivot man on all such occa- 


RioTiP. Slicl<;illaniy naively says, in 1734, wlion not find- 
ing liis trusty friend on liand : " Haviniji; finished inquiry, 
T will go to see Conrad Weiser, at Tulpeliockeu, and 
either relate it to him to be sent down hither in writing, 
or, if it be found to be of consequence, I will come hither 
and deliver it myself." 

In 1735 he made a religious somersault, which will be 
noticed hereafter. 

The Council ^linutes, as they are preserved for us in 
the Colonial Records and Pennsylvania Archives, fre- 
quently record his name, at short intervals, over a dozen 
or more pages. Notice is taken of his valuable services, 
both by the Indians and the Council, again and again, 
and always in most favorable terms. In September, 1736, 
the Chiefs of the Six Nations were expected in Philadel- 
phia to confirm the treaty of 1732. He informed the 
Council, from Tulpehocken, that a large number would 
arrive from Shamokin, on the Susquehanna, and was 
asked to repair to Philadelphia at once, to attend and 
provide for them. On the 27th the Chiefs, with Weiser, 
came to the President's house at Stenton. Here a feast 
was provided. On the 28th the Council was held, in the 
presence of Governor Thomas Penn, the Chiefs and other 
dignitaries. Conrad Weiser the Indians style ^^ our 
friend.'' The sum of £20 is awarded him, and in no 
grudging way, as may be gathered from the following 
extract : " He has been very serviceable — which sum the 
Provincial Treasurer is directed to pay, and that he 
advance the said sum." 

When Governor Gooch, of Virginia, desired this prov- 
ince to mediate between the Six Nations, the Cherokees, 
the Catawbas and others, and himself, Logan writes thus : 


"I had an opportunity of seeing Conrad Weiser, and 
judging him, from the experience this goverumcnt has 
had of his honesty and fidelity, to be the liiost pro|>er 
person to carry the Six Xations the proposed message in 
this letter, I engaged AVeiser to undertake the l)usiness, 
and gave him proper instructions to that end. He, now 
being returned, has, in his own words and handwriting, 
given a very distinct and satisfactory account of the 
errand he was sent on ; the Board will find it, in sub- 
stance, to signify that the Six Xations are ready and will- 
ing to treat of and conclude a peace with their enemies ; 
but declining to go to Williamsburg, they propose Al- 

In 1737 he was accordingly sent to Onondago, N. Y. 
This was his first great mission. He leaves Tulpehocken 
in February for a journey some five hundred miles long, 
through a wilderness without road or path, in the face of 
danger. His experiences are well told in his Journal, to 
which the reader is referred. In all the following years 
his name occurs on many pages, as though he were the 
most prominent man of the day. AVe (piestion, too, 
whether anv one man had been more widclv and more 
favorably known, at that period, than Conrad Weiser 
was. It would tire our hand to write and but weary the 
eye, were we faithfully to insert this entry — "Conrad 
Weiser, interpreter" — as often as it is made to stand on 
the official record. 

During the year 1738, in May, he accompanies IVishop 
Spangenberger, David Zeisberger and Shebosch, Moravian 
missionaries to the Indians, to Onondago again. 'Hieir 
hardships were many and great, all of which he cheer- 
fnlly and heroically endured. 

50 THE lifp: of 

But he was not unniindfiil of home interests, tliongh, 
as it seems, so constantly engaged abroad. AVe never 
found a man busier over a larger territory, without neg- 
lecting his own house and neighborhood. In 1739-40, 
February 4, he saw the propriety of organizing a new 
county, and accordingly signs a prayer to that effect, 
though the county of Berks did not come forth till 1752. 

In the vear 1741 he was commissioned as a Justice of 
the Peace for Lancaster county, and thus succeeded to the 
office which his father and grandfather had filled in Gross- 
Aspach. He continued in service as a Justice for many 
years, and after the erection of Berks county he filled it 
within that territory, likewise. Fr. Lceher speaks of him 
as a Magistrate " known far and wide as an upright offi- 
cer.'^ But he displeased the lawless on many occasions, 
for be it remembered, Conrad Weiser was a religious man. 
Of a certain family he complains woefully, and thinks 
them " worse than any Indian or Frenchman.^' He 
acknowledges that he stands in dread of the members of 
the household. And well he might. One night those 
upon whom he pronounced the law^s penalty, barred his 
windows and blockaded the doors, setting fire to some 
straw and other combustibles which they had carried 
under the stoop. One of the children awoke and gave 
the alarm. They broke through a window and thus 
escaped being burned alive. 

It is related, as showing the humor of the man, that a 
certain troublesome w^oman, w^ho had been continually 
worrying him for the arrest of her husband on the charge 
of " assault and battery,'^ was once asked by him whether 
she did not sometimes deserve a little castigation at her 
husband's hands ? To this query the woman, after some 


hesitation, made answer that she believed it to ht- his 
right and her profit to have a chastisement administered 
occasionally, but that he indulged too frequently and too 
severely in the discipline. 

In July, 1742, an account of his expenses was exhib- 
ited, amounting to £36, 18s., 3d. This seems a large 
bill ; but that it did not strike the officials as being too 
exorbitant, or as calling for an investigation, the extract 
which we insert will show : ^^ Taking into consideration 
the many signal services performed by Conrad Weiser to 
this Government, his diligence and labor in the service 
thereof, and his skill in the Indian languages and meth- 
ods of business, we are of the opinion that the said Con- 
rad should be allowed, as a reward from this Province, at 
this time, the sum of thirty pounds at least, besides pay- 
ment of his said account.^^ 

Cannassatego, a Delaware Chief, bespeaks the good 
will of the Council at Philadelphia after this manner, in 
his behalf: ^^ \Ye esteem our present Interpreter to bo 
such a person, equally faithful in the interpretation of 
whatever is said to him, by either of us ; equally allic^d 
to both. He is of our Nation and a member of our 
Council, as well as of yours. When we adopted him, we 
divided him into two equal parts — one-half we kept for 
ourselves and one-half we kept for you. He has a great 
deal of trouble with us. He wore out his shoes in our 
messages and dirtied his clothes by being among us, so 
that he is as nasty as an Indian. In return for these 
services we recommend him to your generosity. And in 
our own behalf we gave him five skins to buy him clothes 
and shoes with.^' 

The Hon. George Thomas, Lieut. Governor of the 


proviuce, replied in these words : '' We entertaiu the same 
sentiments of the abilities and ])robity of the interpreter 
as yon have expressed. We were induced, at first, to 
make nse of liim in this important trust, from his being 
known to be agreeable to you, and one who had lived 
amongst you for some years in good credit and esteem 
with all your Nation, and have ever found him equally 
faithful to both. We are pleased with your notice of 
him, and think he richly deserves it at your hands. We 
shall not be wanting to make him a suital)le 2:ratification 
for the many good and faithful services he has done this 

It was in this year, during the month of July (12th), 
that another Tribe ratified the deed, given some years 
earlier, for the land along the Schuylkill. To this instru- 
ment the names of Benjamin Franklin and Conrad Wei- 
ser are appended. 

But another important mission opened before him. 
Count Zinzendorf had arrived in America, and was anx- 
ious that Conrad Weiser should accompany him to Beth- 
lehem, to preach to the Indians. There he, accordingly, 
interpreted for the Count during the month of August. 
^' This is the man,'' said he, " whom God hath sent, both 
to the Indians and the white people, to make known His 
will to them." On a similar errand he accompanied 
Count Zinzendorf, shortly afterwards, to Shamokin. He 
was enraptured over the success of the gospel among the 
Indians. He expresses his delight in a letter, from which 
we cull the following extracts : 

" I was very sorry not to have seen you at Shamokin 
(Buettner), owing to your indisposition. But the pleas- 
ure I felt, during my abode there, left a deep impression 


upon me. The faith of tlie IndiaDs in our I^ord Jcsiis 
Christ — their simplicity and iinatfected deportment ; their 
experience of the grace procured for us l)y the sulferin^s 
of Jesus, preached to them l)y the brethren — has impressed 
my mind with a firm belief that God is with vou. I 
thought myself seated in a company of primitive Chris- 

^^ The old men sat partly upon benches and ])artly 
upon the ground, for want of room, with great gravity 
and devotion, their eyes steadfastly fixed upon their 
teacher, as if thev would eat his words. John was the 
interpreter, and acquitted himself in the best manner. I 
esteem him as a man anointed with grace and spirit. 
Though I am not well acquainted with the Matii^ander 
language, yet their peculiar manner of delivery renders 
their ideas intelligible to me as to any European in this 
country. In short, I deem it one of the greatest favors 
bestowed upon me in this life that I have been at Sha- 

"That text of Scri])ture, ^ Jesus Christ the same yes- 
terday and to-day, and forever,' appeared to me as an 
eternal truth when I beheld the veneralJe patriarchs of 
the American Indian Church sitting around me, as living 
witnesses of the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and of 
His atoning sacrifice. Their prayers are had in remem- 
brance in the sight of God — and may God fight against 
their enemies. May the Almighty God give to you and 
your assistants an open door to tlie hearts of all the hea- 
thens. This is the most earnest wish of your sincere 
friend, Coxrad Wkiskr." 

However sansruine he may have been of tlie conver- 
sion of the Indians, at the time of his writing, we do not 


find tliat lie colloairncd loiin-or with the Moravian mission- 
arics in prosecuting th(> noble undertaking;. This much 
credit nuist, nevertheless, be given him that he at that 
early day suggested the only true plan by which any mis- 
sionary work can ever be carried forward, Avhcther the 
material to be evangelized be Indian, African, or Asian 
or European. Pastor Muhlenberg states it in these words : 
" ]\Ir. Weiser is of the opinion that to convert them to 
Christianity it would be essential, among other methods, 
to adopt something like the following : 

'^ I. Several missionaries should take up their abode 
in the midst of the Indians and strive to make themselves 
thorough masters of their language ; conform as far as 
possible to their costumes, manners and customs, yet 
reprove their natural vices by a holy, meek and virtuous 

^^11. Translate Revealed Truth into their own lan- 
guage, and present the whole as intelligibly as possible. 

"III. The missionaries should study the Indian 
tunes and melodies, and convey to them the law and the 
Gospel, in such tunes and melodies, in order to make an 
abiding impression, and thereby, under the blessing and 
increase of God, patiently wait for the fruits of their 
labors.'^ — {From Rupp^s History of Berks and Lebanon 

The interest which our hero took in the evangelizing 
of the Indians wdll become all the more striking when we 
recall the fact that he spent three months in instructing 
Pyrlacus, Buettner and Zander — missionaries from Europe 
in 1741 — in the Maqua or Mohawd^ language at Tulpe- 
hocken, during 1743, in order to preach the Gospel to the 
Iroquois, or Six Nations. 


The year 1 743 was a; busy year for him. The (J«>v- 
eriior (Thomas) sends him to Shamokin. Of this trip he 
says: ^' On the 30th of January, 1743, in the evening, 1 
received the Governor's order, together with the dejxjsi- 
ti(jn of Thomas McKee, and set out next morning with 
Mr. McKee for Shamokin, where we arrived on the 1st 
of February. I left Shamokin the 6th and arrived at 
home in the night, the 9th of February.'^ 

In April the interests of Virginia and Maryhmd re- 
quire his services. The Governor of Pennsylvania, accord- 
ingly, sends him to the same place. His own words are 
these : "In April, 1743, I arrived at Shamokin (9th), by 
order of the Governor of Pennsylvania, to accpiaint the 
neighboring Indians, and those of Wyoming, tliat the 
Governor of Virginia was well pleased with the media- 
tion, and ^vas willing to come to agreement with the Six- 
Nations about the land his people were settled upon, if it 
was that they contended for, and to make up the matter of 
the late unhappy skirmish in an amicable way.'' 

But he is not permitted to recruit long in his Tulpe- 
hocken home. It ^vas the opinion of the Board that Con- 
rad Weiser should be immediately sent for and despatched 
to Onondago again. Instructions, given under the hand 
and lesser seal of the Province of Pennsvlvania, dated 
June 18, 1743, were put into his possession. He was 
charged with delivering the good will of the Governor 
and Council of Virginia, with the distribution of £100 ; 
and with authority to arrange the time and i)hice of meet- 
ing during the coming spring, in order to form a Treaty in 
regard to some disputed lands. Here are five hundred 
more miles to be gone over. By the 1st day of August 
he hands up his Keport to the Governor. He kept a 

02 T1II<: LIFE OF 

Journal, noting nil his experience, " for liis memory's 
sake and satisfaction." We will relate some cnllings, 
since there are '^ several things mentioned which are mere 
ceremonies and trifling details." 

He went on horseback. He smoked many pipes* of 
Philadelphia tobacco, and told them that " it was enough 
to kill a man to come such a long and bad road, over hills, 
rocks, old trees, rivers, to fight through a cloud of vermin, 
and all kinds of poisonous worms and creeping things, 
besides being loaded with a disagreeable message." The 
tawny people laughed at him. He met Aquoyiota, an old 
acquaintance of his, a Chief seventy years old. While 
there, they feasted him on '' hominy, venison, dried eels, 
squashes and Indian corn-bread." 

The Record of Conrad Weiser, covering eleven years 
of constant service, was above all taint or suspicion. His 
private life, his official history and his religious zeal all 
combine to present him a very beautiful character before 
us. It is a pleasure to hear the good reports, coming in 
from all sides, which endorse the traditional estimation of 
the man. 

* The Pipe of Peace is the Indian Flag of Truce. It is often termed the 
" Calumet" — for what reason we know not. It consists of a reed some four 
feet long, inserted in a bowl of red marble, curiously painted over with hier- 
oglyphics and adorned with feathers. Every Nation has its own peculiar dec- 




AND DUTIES. 1744-1754. 

Scenes of blood were frequent in those days. Through 
Conrad Weiser^s philanthropic and wise policy many gory 
outbreaks were prevented, as our ancestors believed and 
assured us. But ^vithal they did occur. In April, 1744, 
Governor Thomas was informed that J'~>hn Armstronjr, an 
Indian trader, with his two servants, AVoodward Arnohl 
and James Smith, had been murdered at Juniata by three 
Delawares. Conrad was despatched to the Chiefs, at Sha- 
mokin, to look up and demand satisfaction for the deed. 
The culprits were imprisoned at Lancaster and hanged at 
Philadelphia. In reference to this matter he says, in a 
letter, dated Tulpehocken, April 26, 1744 : " I am always 
willing to comply with His honor's commands, but could 
wish they might have been delayed till after Court, where 
my presence by many is required on some particular ac- 
counts. But as the command is pressing and cannot be 
delayed, I am prepared to set out to-morrow morning for 
Shamokin. I mil use the best of my endeavors to have 
the Governor's and Council's request answered to s:itisfac- 
tion, by delivering up the two Indians and the goods. * * * 
I am afraid they have made their escape far enough by 
this time." In May he makes his interesting report. 
The Delaware Indians acknowledged the deed without 
pleading '' insanity." " It is true," said a Chief, " we, by 


the instigation of the evil spirit, liavc murdered/' * * * 
" ^Ye hav^e transgressed, and we are ashamed to look up. 
We have taken the murderer and delivered him up to the 
relatives of the deceased, to be dealt with according to his 
works. The dead bodies are buried. Your demand for 
the goods is very just. We have gotten some, and will 
do the utmost of what Ave can to find them all. Our 
hearts are in mourning, and we are in a dismal condition 
and cannot say anything at present." A grand feast was 
prepared for over one hundred persons, who devoured a 
big, fat bear in silence. A Chief, the oldest, arose and 
said : ^^Althougli, by a great misfortune, three of their 
white brothers had been murdered by the Indians, the sun 
had still not gone down, and war set in ; but that only a 
little cloud had crossed the face, which now too had been 
cleared away ; and that all the evil-doers should be pun- 
ished, whilst the country remained in peace, and the Great 
Spirit must be praised." He then struck on a musical 
tune, w^hich all chimed along. No words seemed to be 
employed — merely a tune, which was very solemnly ut- 
tered. At the end the veteran exclaimed : " Thanks ! 
Thanks ! To Thee, Great Governor of the World, that 
Thou hast chased aAvay the clouds and suffered the sun to 
shine on once more. The Indians are Thy children." 

The Great Council was held at Lancaster, Pa., June 
22, and a Treaty was made with the Six Nations. The 
Governor was present, and the Commissioners of Virginia 
and Maryland. This Conference was a protracted one 
and ended about the close of July. Many pleasant occur- 
rences are noted as having transpired during the proceed- 
ings. The Indians frequently shouted their "Jo/iaA," 
which denotes approbation and good feeling. It is a loud 


cry, and consists of a few notes pronounced in unison, in 
a musical manner, in the nature of our ^Hurrah.' Three 
hundred j)Ounds were distributed among the Indians in 
presents, of vermilion, flints, jewsharps, boxes, lead, shot, 
gun-powder, shirts, blankets and guns. Conrad Weiser 
interpreted, and explained the present. A deed was 
executed, by which all their claim and title to certain 
lands lying in the Provinces of Virginia and Marykmd 
were released. They demanded that Conrad Weiser sliould 
sign the instrument, as well with his Indian name as with 
his English. His Indian name was Tar achaw agon. 

The messenger of the Governor of Virginia made the 
following complimentary allusion to the Interpreter in his 
address to the Sachems and Warriors of the Six Nations : 

^^ Our friend, Conrad Weiser, when he is old, will go 
into the other world, as our fathers have done. Our chil- 
dren will then want such a friend, to go between them 
and your children, to reconcile any differences that may 
arise between them ; who, like him, may have the ears 
and tongues of our children and yours. 

'^ The way to have such a friend is for you to send 
three or four of your boys to Virginia, where we have a 
fine house for tkem to live in, and a man on purpose to 
teach children of yours, our friends, the religion, language 
and customs of the white people. To this place we kindly 
invite you to send of your children ; and we promise you 
they shall have the same care taken of them, aud be 
instructed in the same manner as our own children ; and 
be returned to you again when you please. A nd to con- 
firm this, we give you this string of Wampum." 

To this proposition Canassatego replied in these words : 

" Brother Assaraquoa : You told us, likewise, you had 


a great house provided for tlie education of youths; that 
tliere were several white people and Indian cliildren there 
to learn languages, to read and write ; and invited us to 
send some of our children among you. 

" We must let you know we love our children too well 
to send them so great a way. And the Indians are not 
inclined to give their children learning. We allow it to 
be good, and we thank you for your invitation. But our 
customs differing from yours, you will be so good as to 
excuse us. 

"We hope Tarachawagon (Conrad Weiser) will be 
preserved by the Great Spirit to a good old age. When 
he is gone under ground, it will be time enough to look 
out for another. And, no doubt, amongst so many thou- 
sands as there are in the world, one such man may be 
found who will serve both parties with the same fidelity 
as Tarachawagon does. AVhile he lives there is no room 
to complain." 

Surely the old Chief had knowledge of a very good 
sort of philosophy. It was teaching the popular proverb : 
" Never cross a bridge till you come to it'' ; or the Chris- 
tian theory, " Fear not, but trust to Providence.'' 

This apt reply reminds us of another, similar in kind. 
General George Washington, while President of the United 
States, sent an Agent to the Chypewyan Tribe, whose 
friendship it was requisite we should cultivate to preserve 
the lucrative fur trade. Among other things that the 
illustrious President offered was, " that the United States 
would take two or three of the sons of their Chiefs and 
educate them in our colleges." When the proposition had 
been offered, the Indians, who never give an immediate 
answer to things that they think of importance, told the 


Agent: " They would think of it." After a short time 
they returned for an answer: ^^That tliey had consuhi'd 
on the sul)ject, and were of the opinion that it would ren- 
der them effeminate to be educated in our schools, as it 
would totally disqualify them to hunt or pursue the war ; 
but, in return for the civility of their Chief, Washington, 
they would, if he would send the sons of his men among 
them, educate them to pursue the chase for several davs 
without eating ; and to go Avithout clothing in extremely 
cold weather, and, in frosty nights, to lay on the ground 
without covering, and every other thing requisite to make 
them Indians and brave men." 

The Lancaster Treaty brought Conrad Weiser £15, 
3s., 6d., to defray his expenses by. 

During this year the Governor sent forth intimations 
of a war in prospect against the French. In order to 
keep the Indians on good terms with the English, Conrad 
Weiser was kept in constant employment. Hearing of 
the death of a Chief among the Onoudagos, he suggests a 
visit of condolence, which he was accordingly ordered to 
perform, in September. 

This being a very critical time, the traffic in liquor 
which the traders carried on for pelFs sake, gave the Gov- 
ernment much to do. Reduced to a state of intoxication, 
they would barter their skins away for a mere song, and 
after having recovered from a drunken fit, they were ready 
to seek revenge. Conrad Weiser was the pacificator of 
the day. Governor Thomas said, at Philadelphia, .Vugust 
24, 1744 : "Tho' the Indian traders are not the best sort 
of people, and may not do you well, yet you are not to 
take revenge yourselves, but apply, in all cases, to Conrad 
Weiser, who is a Justice of the Peace, and will hear your 


coniplniiits and procure you such redress as our law will 
give you." The Dclawares were satisfied with this advice. 

With the opeuiug of 1745 came furtluT duties and 
tasks for our diligent man. In flanuary, at his suggestion 
again, he builds a house for Shekallamy, at Shamokiu, 
"49 J feet long and 17 1 wide, and covered with shingles, 
in 17 days" — which we may regard a speedy job for that 
period. During this year, too, he gave his eldest daugh- 
ter in marriage to the grand old Lutheran Patriarch, the 
Rev. Dr. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, as we shall learn 
in another place. But he has little time to spend in fes- 
tivities at home. French machinations call him, in com- 
pany with Shekallamy and others, to Onondago again. 
He sets out on the 19th of May. The result of his nego- 
tiations, which opened on the 6th of June, may be seen in 
a letter of his, to which the reader is referred. 

Here we will insert an anecdote, which we extract from 
Rupp's History of Berks and Lebanon Counties : 

" It was probably while at Onondago this time, the 
current anecdote, related by Dr. Franklin, touching Wei- 
ser and Canassatego, which is found in Drake's Indian 
Biography, Book V., p. 12, 13, originated. As the edi- 
tors of the valuable Encyclopedia Perthensis have thought 
this anecdote worthy a place in that work, it has gained 
one here : 

" ^ Dr. Franklin tells us a very interesting story of 
Canassatego, and at the same time makes the old Chief 
tell another. In speaking of the manners and customs of 
the Indians, the doctor says : The same hospitality, es- 
teemed among them as a principal virtue, is practised by 
private persons ; of which Conrad Weiser, our interpreter, 
gave me the following instances : He had been naturalized 


among the Six Xations, and spoke well the ]\Iohawk lan- 
guage. In going through the Indian country, to carry a 
message from our Governor to the Council at Onondago, 
he called at the habitation of Canassatego^ an old acquain- 
tance, who embraced him, spread furs for him to sit on, 
placed before him some boiled beans, and venison, and 
mixed some rum and water for his drink. When he was 
well refreshed, and had lit his pipe, Canassatego began to 
converse with him ; asked how he had fared the many 
years since they had seen each other ; whence he then 
came ; what occasioned the journey, etc. Conrad answered 
all his questions ; and when the discourse began to flag, 
the Indian, to continue it, said, ^ Conrad, you have lived 
long among the white people, and know something of 
their customs : I have been sometimes at Albany, and 
have observed that once in seven days they shut up their 
shops and assemble in the great house ; tell me what that 
is for ; what do they do there f ' They meet there,' says 
Conrad, ^ to hear and learn good things.' ^ I do not 
doubt,' says the Indian, ' that they tell you so ; they have 
told me the same ; but I doubt the truth of what they say, 
and I will tell you my reasons. I went lately to Albany, 
to sell my skins, and buy blankets, knives, powder, rum, 
etc. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Han- 
son ; but I was a little inclined this time to try other mer- 
chants. However, I called first upon Hans, and asked 
him what he would give for beaver. He said he could 
not give more than four shillings a pound ; but, says he, 
I cannot talk on business now ; this is the day when we 
meet together to learn good things, and I am going to the 
meeting. So I thought to myself, since I cannot do any 
business to-day, I may as well go to the meeting too, and 


I wcMit with him. There stood up a man in ])lack, and 
began to tidk to the people very angrily ; I (hd not under- 
stand what he said, but perceiving that lie looked much 
at me, and at Hanson, I imagined that he was angry at 
seeing me there ; so I went out, sat down near the house, 
struck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the meeting 
should break up. I thought, too, that the man had men- 
tioned something of beaver, and suspected it might be the 
subject of their meeting. So when they came out, I 
accosted my merchant. ' Well, Hans,' says I, ^ I hope 
you have agreed to give more than 4s. a pound.' '■ No,' 
says he, ^ I cannot give so much ; I cannot give more than 
three shillings and sixpence.' I then spoke to several 
other dealers, but they all sung the same song, — three and 
sixpence, three and sixpence. This made it clear to me 
that my suspicion was right ; and that whatever they pre- 
tended of meeting to learn good things, the purpose was 
to consult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. 
Consider but a little, Conrad, and you must be of my 
opinion. If they met so often to learn good things, they 
would certainly have learned some before this time. But 
they are still ignorant. You know our practice. If a 
white man, traveling through our country, enters one of 
our cabins, we all treat him as I do you ; we dry him if 
he is wet ; we warm him if he is cold, and give him meat 
and drink, that he may allay his thirst and hunger ; and 
we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep on : we de- 
mand nothing in return. But if I go into a white man's 
house at Albany, and ask for victuals and drink, they say, 
^ Get out, you Indian dog.' You see they have not yet 
learned those little good things, that we need no meetings 
to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to us 


when we were children ; and therefore it is impossible 
their meetings should be, as they say, for any such pur- 
pose, or have any such effect : they are only to contrive 
the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver/ " 

In October he is in Xew York, surrounded by Chiefs. 
In December he is directed by the Governor, at the sug- 
gestion of the Council, to employ scouts among the Sha- 
mokin Indians ^' to watch the enemy's movements, and to 
engage the whole body of Indians there to harass them in 
their march. The pay or reward to be given them, in all 
such transactions, to be entrusted to his own good judg- 
ment to determine/^ 

A slight intermission of missionary travel seems to 
have been granted him during the year 1746. But it was 
by no means an idle year. As farmer, Justice of the 
Peace and Interpreter, he found enough to do. It would 
prove a difficult task to find a character whose record pre- 
sents a less broken chain. 

In 1747 the Proprietary Governor, John Penii, dies. 
He is charged in June to carry the sad news to tlie Indi- 
ans at Shamokin. In October he writes to Secretarv Pe- 
ters and advices that a handsome present should Ik' made 
to the Indians on the Ohio and Lake Erie •' * * *' since 
they, by their situation, were capable of doing nuicli mis- 
chief if they should turn to the French." 

And in November he is found again at Shamokin. 
This time Shekallamy, his old friend and iViend of tl»e 
Province, is in the deep waters of affiiction. ( 'onnid \\ ci- 
ser's heart was not the one that could pass ])y on tlie other 
side, or even but come and look upon him. '' I arriv«'<l," 
says he, "at Shamokin on the 9th, about noon. I was 
surprised to see Shekallamy in such a condition as my 


eyes beheld. He was hardly able to stretcli forth his 
hand to bid me welcome. In the same condition was his 
wife — his three sons not quite so bad, but very poorly ; 
also one of his daughters and two or three of his grand- 
children. All had the fever. There were three buried 
out of the family a few days before, namely : Cajadis, She- 
kallamy's son-in-law, who had been married to his daugh- 
ter above fifteen years, and was reckoned the best hunter 
among all the Indians, and two others. I administered 
medicine to them, under the direction of Dr. Graeme. 
Shekallamy soon recovered from his sickness. The medi- 
cine had a very good effect. * * ^- Four persons thought 
themselves as good as recovered ; but, above all, Shekal- 
lamy was able to go about with me, by a stick, before I 
left Shamokin, which was on the 12th, in the afternoon." 
" I must, in conclusion," he goes on to say, " recom- 
mend, as an objent of charity, Shekallamy. He is ex- 
tremely poor. In his sickness the horses have eaten all 
the corn. His clothes he gave to the Indian doctors to 
cure him and his family ; but all did no good. He has 
nobody to hunt for him, and I cannot see how the poor old 
man can live. He has been a true servant to the Govern- 
ment, and may still be, if he lives to get well again. As 
the winter is coming on, I think it would not be amiss to 
send him a few blankets, or match-coats, and a little pow- 
der and lead. If the Government would be pleased to do 
it, I would send my sons with it to Shamokin, before the 
cold weather comes." This is the parable of the ^ Good 
Samaritan' in a practical way. He had from his thor- 
ough acquaintance with the Gospel, as Muhlenberg says, 
learned the full import of the admonition of St. James, 
and failed not to realize it on this poor Indian. 


His prayer for charity was not unheeded, either. £16 
were given him, which his sons promptly delivered to the 
unfortunate family. 

He informed Secretary Peters that the present, intended 
for the Ohio Indians, had been dealt out with too sparing 
a hand. The Council regretted that it had already been 
forwarded, as it was, but assured him that no further 
action would be taken in this direction without consultinof 
him ; and requested him to attend the Council at Phila- 
delphia, in view of a conference with the Ohio Warriors. 

In November he speaks of his timely arrival at Pax- 
ton, to prevent the Indians about there from going over 
to the French. 

His temperance principles came to the surface again 
and again. He does not look with favor on the liquor 
traffic with the Indians. " It is an abomination before 
God and man,^' as he puts it. 

About the close of 1747 and beginning of 1748 a mis- 
sion to Ohio was spoken of. The Provinces of Virginia 
and Maryland were asked to join with Pennsylvania in 
preparing a suitable bribe for the Indians dwelling on tlie 
banks of the Ohio river, who were allied to the Six Na- 
tions. This Province alone gathered about ten thousand 
pounds for this and similar purposes. Conrad W'eiscr was 
immediately thought of as the envoy. He endeavored to 
excuse himself from performing so long and hazardous a 
journey. But he was finally prevailed on to undertake it, 
through the earnest words of Secretary Peters. Tlie enter- 
prise was postponed, however, until the 11th day of Au- 
gust, 1748, when he set out from his home at Tulpeh(H'ken. 
We have not the space to remark on all the thrilling inci- 


dents, but ninst refer tlie reader to liis Journal. P)V tlie 
second dav of October lie arrives safe at his home. 

In the month of April, 1749, his commission as Jus- 
tice of the Peace was renewed. By the first day of July 
he is in Philadelphia, interpreting for the Indians of vari- 
ous tribes. In August Governor Hamilton speaks thus 
to the Board : 

^^ Mr. Weiser having defrayed the expenses of the last 
Indians, in their journey to and from this city, I advanced 
him the sum of £60 on his going way. He must, by this 
time, have laid out a considerable sum more, which you 
will please to order payment of. And tho' from your long 
knowledge of his merits, it might be unnecessary in me to 
say anything in his favor, yet as the last set of Indians 
did damage to his plantation, and he had abundant trouble 
with them and is likely to meet much more on this occa- 
sion, I cannot excuse myself from most heartily recom- 
mending it to your mind, to make him a handsome reward 
for his services.^' 

He continued busy with his tawny friends during the 
entire month, mediating, negotiating, pacifying and labor- 
ing in the service. 

In this year he, with Secretary Peters, aided by the 
magistrates of the county, the delegates of the Six Na- 
tions, one Chief of the Mohawks, and Andrew Montour, 
the Interpreter from Ohio, whom Weiser had recom- 
mended to the Board as a person of capacity, because of 
his long residence among the Iroquois, was directed to 
proceed to Cumberland county, to drive forth certain 
white squatters and intruders on Indian ground. We, 
accordingly, find him a member of the Board of Confer- 
ence, at that place, on the 17th of May, 1750. The bal- 


ance of the month and a part of Jnly, again, is consumed 
with some Conestogoe Indians and the Twightccs. Indecil 
it were, perhaps, more proper to note his rare visits home 
than his goings abroad, since he seems to be forever roam- 
ing at large, Avhilst his arrivals at home are more like 
angels' visits. He is the Indian Agent, in fact, during 
these years. The President of the Province of Virginia, 
Honorable Thomas Lee, requests him to proceed U) Onon- 
dago, in August, as usual, on Indian affairs. After an 
absence of two mouths he returns, "in perfect heahh, on 
the first day of October." During this trip he visited his 
relatives and friends in the Province of New York, his 
earlier home, and recommends the nephew, Jolm Picket, 
to the Mohawks as his successor, who resided al)out one 
mile from Canawadagy. 

In May, 1751, the Governor designed sending him on 
a second mission to Ohio. He answers, from Tulpehoc-ken, 
that his presence is more necessary, during the a]i])roacli- 
ing Fall, at Albany, and suggests that substitutes be sent, 
which request was granted him. In June, however, we 
find him ah*eadv at Albanv on otiicial l)usiness, and in 
August at Phihidelphia again, talking Indian and I]ngH>h, 
as usual. 

In Juno, 1752, when Moravian missionaries designinl 
to operate on the Six Nations and request suitabh' ])ass- 
ports, Conrad AVeiser is first consuhed in the matter, a 
circumstance wliich shows still more plainly how j)erfcetly 
the whole Indian territory, and all matters related thereto, 
lay under his hand. 

Governor Dinwiddie was fearing the presages of thr 
coming storm in 1753, and requests his jircsence at Albany 
in behalf of Virginia. He must needs go to the ATohawk 


country, too. He set out from liis home in Ilcidclborf^, 
July 24 til ; arrives at New York by the first day of Au- 
gust — "being taken ill, I sent my son Sammy with one 
Henry Van der Ham to Flushing, on Long Island, to 
wait on Governor Clinton to deliver Governor ?Tamilton's 
letters. August 7th, took passage on board a sloop to 
Albany." By the close of August he returns to Philadel- 
phia. At Carlisle a part of September is spent with Chiefs 
of the Six Nations and other tribes. Conrad Weiser and 
his Indian friends seemed to be flitting about, here, there 
and everywhere. 

But the spare days at home were devoted no less zeal- 
ously to improvements. He subscribes to a petition for a 
highway from Reading to Easton. And, as if the man 
had not a sufficient number of burdens on his shoulders, a 
company of benevolent men of London, forming a scheme 
for the instruction of German youths, constituted a Gen- 
eral Board of Trustees for its execution, in which the fol- 
lowing list of names was made to stand : 

Governor James Hamilton, Chief Justice Allen, Rich- 
ard Peters, Secretary of the Province, Benjamin Franklin, 
Esq., Conrad Weiser and E-ev. William Smith, D. D. The 
Reverend Michael Schlatter was constituted Visitor Gen- 
eral by the Board. 

The wonder is that the man did not succumb under 
the heavy load before this date. We merely sketched his 
shiftings, from one to several hundred miles distant, his 
trials, duties and labors. But the mere recital is already 
fearful. Hardly any one of his cotemporaries held out so 
long, even under less pressure. Men of his own race 
retire and die. The hardy Indian, indeed, bends his back 
and bows his head. Still he clings to life and duty. 






ANNOUNCED. 1 754-1 760. 

King William's (1689-1697), Queen Anne's (17(^2- 
1713) and King George's wars (1744-1 74S) were lollowetl 
by the French and Indian war, whieh extended its blmxly 
trail from 1754 to 1763. The course of the last season <»f 
carnage was, the region west of the Allegheny mountains, 
along the Ohio river. The French territory Kent around 
from Quebec to New Orleans. The English occupied a 
narrow strip along the coast one tliousand miles in K-ngth. 

"As unto the bow the cord is," so these tracts were 
the one to the other. Both })arties claimed the (hsputrd 
ground, regardless of the Indians, who were the real pro- 
prietors after all. The French encroached on English 
parts by breaking uj) old forts long established and plant- 
ing new ones. Early in the Spring they became still more 
aggressive at Port Du (^uesne (Pittsburg), which was the 
key to the region west of the Alleghenies. As long as 
this point was held by them, Virginia and Pemisylvania 
were a battle-field. The Colonics spent §1G,0()0,()(K) in 
this war, and suifered such horrid Indian cruelties as 
never were and never will be toM. 

Washington and I3rad<l()ck were the principal figures 


on tlic field ; Benjamiii l^'raiiklin was tlic central head in 
the Provincial Cabinet, and Conrad AVeiser was Superin- 
tendent of the Indian Department. In April, 1754, the 
Governor sent Conrad AYeiser to Shamokin on a mission 
of inquiry and conciliation among the Chiefs over some of 
the Six Nations. In June he accompanies Benjamin 
Franklin to Albany. These are some of Governor Ham- 
ilton's words : ^^ I have, agreeably to your desire, sent 
Mr. AYeiser, with the Commissioners, and directed him to 
do you all the service in his power, which he professes 
most willingly to do ; and only recpiests that he may not 
be made use of as a principal Interpreter, inasmuch as 
from a disuse of the language he is no longer master of 
that fluency he formerly had, and, finding himself at a 
loss of proper terms to express himself, is frequently 
obliged to make use of circumlocution, which would pique 
his pride in the view of so considerable an audience. He 
says he understands the language perfectly when he hears 
it spoken, and will at all times attend and use his endeavor 
that whatever is said by the Indians be truly interpreted 
to the gentlemen. And in this respect I really think you 
may securely rely on his good sense and integrity.^^ 

This Council at Albany, lasting through June, July 
and part of August, was a very important one. Here the 
first " Plan of Union" for the Colonies was suggested ; 
more lands were purchased from the Indians and Deeds 
executed, to which instruments the names of Franklin, 
Weiser and others were subscribed. 

In August he is sent to Aucquick, to learn the mind 
and relations of the Indian dwellers there. In December 
he aids the Governor in framing suitable messages to the 


In the beginning of 1755 (January) lie is sent tor " l»v 
express'^ to come to Phila(lel])liia. Let it l)e l)«>rn(' in 
mind that ^'by express'^ did not mean a swiit and easy- 
going air passage, but, at best, on horseback — wliieh a^'-ain 
meant to go on foot by more than half the distanee, lead- 
ing the horse by the bridle. The Mohawks had brought 
ne^vs touching the Connecticut people, and Conrad Weiser 
was needed to talk it over. In June we find him to have 
been engaged in providing for his Indian friends, some 
forty-five miles above Shamokin, on the northwest branch 
of the Susquehanna. John Harris demands his presence, 
likewise, at this time on account of savage depradations. 
So too, in July following, whilst acting in the capacity of 
a quarter-master for some needy Indians, the presence of 
the Owendotts at Philadelphia called him " by express" 

One would think that when the country luul been in 
such a state of unrest, no one would be likely to dream of 
a religious conspiracy. Still, no- less than five Justices of 
Berks county subscribed to a praver, adtlressed to the 
Council, asking that a certain Catholic Chapel at (Joshcn- 
hoppen be looked after, since there were rumors of Indians 
occupying it with arms. After sonic little iiupiiry it was 
found that there seemed to be but little ibundation t'oi- 
such a rumor. 

During this period, when sent fi)r to come to IMiiladcl- 
phia in haste, he reports himself as indisposed. I'his is 
the second time that he com})lains of being unwell. He 
sends his son, Samuel, as a substitute, who had previously 
accompanied him on some of his expeditions. In August 
he is promptly at his post again, attending no less than 
three different conferences. In September Governor Mor- 


ris sends liiin to Harris' Ferry. The month of October 
he spends at liome, thongh his sons, Frederick and Peter, 
had to go to Shaniokin in his stead. His liousehold seems 
to have been in the employ of the Province, as well as lie. 

On tlie 31st day of October Governor Morris forwards 
his commission as '^ Colonel.'' He accompanies the letter 
with some complimentary words : ^^ I heartily commend 
your conduct and zeal, and hope you will continue to act 
with the same vigor and caution that you have already 
done, and that you may have a greater authority, I have 
appointed you a Colonel by a commission herewith. I 
have not time to give you any instructions with the com- 
mission, but leave it to your judgment and discretion, 
which I know are great, to do what is most for the safety 
of the people aud service of the crown." Was this not a 
Carte-Blanche ? 

No one will imagine Conrad Weiser to have proven a 
mere ornamental Colonel, verily. He commanded a regi- 
ment of volunteers from the county of Berks, and had 
command over the Second Battalion of the Pennsylvania 
regiment, consisting of nine companies. ^^ He exerted 
himself by day and night, in the protection of his suffer- 
ing neighbors and fellow-citizens, and repelling the savage 
Indians in their incursions. He was vigilant, brave and 
active, in the full sense of the terms. A number of forts 
and block houses were erected under his directions on the 
frontiers of Lancaster and Berks. * ^ * He distributed 
his companies very judiciously — stationing one company 
at Fort Augusta, one at Hunter's Mills, seven miles above 
Harrisburg, on the Susquehanna ; one-half company on 
the Swatara, at the foot of the North Mountain ; one com- 
pany and a half at Fort Henry, close to the gap of the 


moimtain, called the Tolhea Gap ; one coinpaiiy at Fort 
AVilliam, near the forks of the Schuylkill river, six Miilcs 
beyond the mountain ; one company at Fort Allen, erecte<l 
by Benjamin Franklin, at Gnadenhuetten, on the Lclii«;li ; 
the other three companies were scattered between tlie riv- 
ers Lehigh and Delaware, at the dispositions of the cai>- 
tains, some at farm houses, others at mills, from three to 
twenty at a place." — Rupp. 

But though a Colonel in active service, he dare n(H 
absent himself from the many Conferences and Treaty- 
makings which were being held at short intervals during 
these years. In November, 1755, he is in Philadelphia, 
with two hard cases on his hands — Scarrozady and drunken 
Tigrea. Here is a specimen of a speech : 

"AYe tell you the French have a numerous alliance of 
other Indians, as well as the Delawares, in this war." 

(Danced the war dance.) 

" AYhen AVashington was defeated, we, the Dclawari-s, 
were blamed as the cause of it. AVe will now kill. A\'e 
will not be blamed without a cause. We make up three 
parties of Delawares. One party will go against Carlisle, 
one down the Susquehanna, and I myself, with another 
party, will go against Tulpehocken, to Con rail \\'eiser." 

The revolted Delawares caused much anxiety to tlu- 
Government, and Conrad AVeiser was the onlv man who 
could effect anvthinij: with them. In December his letters 
and reports were forwarded, and thus another year came 
to its close. 

Harris' Ferry claims his services during .January of 
1756. He accompanies Governor Morris and James I^h 
gan to Carlisle, during the same montli, where a Confer- 
ence was held. Back again to Harris' Ferry and Phila- 


(l('l])hia in I^\'l)riiaiy. A <^ood j)art of July is spent at 
Eastoii. Cortiiiii insimiatioiis in Christian Sowers' paper, 
at Gennantown, to the effect tliat the ill-will of the Indi- 
ans had been excited by the dishonest and covetous spirit 
of the Government, offends his honor, in September, for 
which he reports the editor and wants him punished. It 
turned out not quite as bad as he had thought, however, 
and he and Sowers Avere fast friends to the end of his life. 

In October Shayetowah, John Shekallamy's brother, 
complains of having lost his friend Conrad Weiser, before 
the Board, and expresses a strong inclination to see him 
again. He might have seen him on this occasion, but, 
alas ! the old Interpreter is unwell for the third time. He 
could not travel, though asked to come '' by express.'' 
Long exposure and age are beginning to tell, for he is now 
in his sixtieth year. His sou, Samuel, is his proxy again, 
who, by the way, is styled ^^ Captain Sam." But in No- 
vember he had recruited, and goes to Easton. 

The Indians desire a Council to be held there, and 
Conrad Weiser so arranged it. The Governor did not 
fancy to go abroad, and thought it unnecessary to gratify 
such whims of theirs. But Conrad knew better, and the 
proposed Council was held, which proved an important 
one, lasting nearly three weeks. 

During this year he took up his residence in Reading, 
at the corner of Penn and Callowhill streets. In old 
times it was the principal hotel in the place. " Here," 
says the Reading Times, " the war song of the savage was 
sung, the war dance wound down and the calumet of peace 
finally smoked." The house was built in 1751 and known 
as the ^' Wigwam." Many a Conference was held within 
its walls, and Treaties effected under its roof, in the old 


ludian Agent's day. The walls are still standing np to 
the second story. 

In 1757 he, with Logan, prepared the Oovernur's 
message to the Six Nations. In ]\Iay he docs the same 
service for a Council Member, Croghani, who undL'rtouk 
the task of replying to the Delaware Indians, but failed. 

The condition of the frontier settlers was truly deplor- 
able at this period. Sickness and savages made their lot 
a hard one, indeed. Appeals to the Government were 
made, but a deaf ear was turned to their cries. The fol- 
lovv'ing appeal we copy from Rupp's History of Berk^ an^l 
Lebanon Counties : 

"Die hintern Einwohner zu Dopehocken bitten um 
eine Beysteuer, dasz sie mehr Wacten bezahlen kennen zu 
ihrer Sicherheit, weil die Festungen so weit auseinander 
liegen und die Voelcker drinnen wenig Dienste thunn. 
Wer willen ist, etwas zu steuern, der kann es ablegen in 
Lancaster bei Herrn Oterbein, und Herrn Gerock, Luth. 
Pred. ; in Xew Hanover und Provident/ by ^Ir. ^Tui-h- 
lenberg und Leydig ; in Madetsche by Dr. Al>rahain 
Wagner; in Goschenhoppen by ]\Ir. Michael Rcycr ; in 
Germantown by Christopli Saner, Sr., und in i*hihidclphia 
bey Hr. Hundshuh, und dabey schreiben, wie viel gegcben 
worden ; und diese kcennen es uebersenden an Col. Con- 
rad Weiser ; oder Peter Spycher, oder an Ilr. Kurtz, wie 
es einem Jeden beliebt. 

" Diejenigen, welche in Rnlie und Sicherheit ihre 
Erndte haben kuennen schneiden und heinibringen, hal)en 
Ursache, Gott davor zu danken." 

That Conrad Weiser could not please every Indian 
may be seen from the following remarks of Tecdyuscuug, 
9- Delawarian Chief, uttered in the month of July : 


"I was deceived by Courad Weiser, wlio promised to 
ti^ive me notice (to call on the Governor), but he broke 
his word with me. And if he could do it in this instance, 
he may do it in another/' 

The Governor plead a misunderstanding, and l)egged 
the Chief to suspend judgment till an explanation could 
be had. This occurred at Easton, where a protracted 
Council was held, and resulted in a Treaty. At a meet- 
ing of the Board, September 1 2th, Mr. Weiser Avas ordered 
to build a house for the Delaware Indians at Wyoming. 
The bloody-minded Teedyuscung Avas inclined to have a 
price fixed for scalps. By request Conrad Weiser uttered 
his mind on the subject in these words : '■^ It is my hum- 
ble opinion that no encouragement should be given to the 
Indians for scalps, for fear we must then pay for our own 
scalps, and those of our fellow subjects, as will certainly 
be the case. Allow as much for prisoners as you please 
— rather more than was intended.'^ He ever remained a 
humane man, though among the savages for a lifetime. 

As to building a house at Wyoming, he seemed to be 
in doubt. At all events, he was unwilling to attend to it. 
^^ I am in a very Ioav state of health, and cannot, without 
great hazard, undertake any journey." 

Previous to this writing Ave find him, during 1757, at 
a Treaty-making in Lancaster, in May, and also again in 
Easton, in August. His rare appearance, during the last 
two years, is explained by the part of the letter just quoted. 
It seems odd to the eye, that has accustomed itself to find 
his name on so many successiA^e pages, now to find strange 
names, noAV of this man, then of that one, in his familiar 
room. But all things end. 

In 1760 the Indian Agents at Fort Augusta inform 


the Council that John Shekallamy is anxious to see Con- 
rad Weiser. The Secretary had written to him and asked 
him to take the trouble upon himself to go to Shamokin. 
The answer was that he could not go, but that he wcjuld 
send his son Samuel. And lo I his name appears never 
again as Interpreter. 

There is a record, though, which we extract from the 
minutes of an Indian Conference held at Easton, and 
insert, as in good place, here. It bears the date August 
3d, 17G1, and reads thus : 

" Seneca George stood up and spoke as follows : 

" Brotlier Onas : We, the Seven Xations, and our cou- 
sins are at a great loss and sit in darkness, as well as you, 
by the death of Conrad AVeiser, as since his death we can- 
not so well understand one another. By this belt we cover 
his bodv with Ixirk. 

^^ Brother Onas : Having taken notice of the death of 
Conrad AVeiser, and the darkness it has occasioned amongst 
us, I now by this belt raise up another Interpreter, by 
w^hose assistance we may understand one another clearlv. 
You know that in former times, when men grew old and 
died, we used to put others in their placi-s. Now, as Con- 
rad Weiser (who was a great man, and one-hall' a Si'ven 
Nation Indian and one-half an I'jiglishman) is drad, we 
recommend it to the Governor to appoint his son (pointing 
to Samuel, then present) to succeed him as an Interpreter, 
and to take care of the Seven Xations and their rou>ins." 

The Governor, James Hamilton, answered : '' lircth- 
ren : We are very sensible, with you, that both of us have 
sustained a very heavy loss by the death of our old and 
good friend, Conrad AVeiser, wlio was an able, experience*! 
and faithful Interpreter, and one of the Council of the 


Sovoii Xnti(^ns ; mid tliat siiice liis death we, fis well as 
you, have sat in darkness, and are at a great loss for want 
of well understan(hng what we say to one another. We 
mourn with you for his deatli, and heartily join in eover- 
inff his body with bark. 

" Brethren : Having tlius paid our regards to our 
deceased friend, we cannot but observe with you that there 
is a necessity of appointing some other person to succeed 
him, by whose assistance we may be enabled to find the 
true sense and meaning of wdiat there may be occasion to 
say to one another, either in Council, or by letters or mes- 

" Brethren : In conformity to the ancient custom of 
taking from among the relations of any man who dies, 
some fit person to supply his place (as Mr. Weiser was by 
adoption one of the Six Nations, though by birth one of 
us), we think you did well to cast your eyes upon one of 
his children ; and, inasmuch as Samuel Weiser is the only 
one amongst them who has any knowledge of the Indian 
language, and has lived among you, we shall be glad to 
make trial of him for the present, and if we find him 
capable of serving in the office of Interpreter and in the 
managen7ent of Indian affairs (in both which capacities 
his father so well acquitted himself), we shall appoint him 
to that service. We look upon this choice of yours as a 
mark of your grateful aifection for Conrad Weiser, who 
was always your sincere friend, and we join this belt to 
yours in token of our concurrence as far as to make trial 
of him.'^ 

In a letter of Secretary Peters, dated Feb. 12, 1761, 
Philadelphia, we read : " Poor Mr. Weiser is no more ; 
he died suddenly in the summer, and has not left any one 


to fill his place as Provincial Interpreter. His son, Sam- 
uel, has almost forgotten what little he knew/' 

Thus closes his Indian record. From 1724 to the end 
of his life he had been among, and in almost daily inter- 
course with the Indians, a period extending over forty-six 

If Thomas JeiFerson felt prompted to say of Lewis 
and Clarke and their brave companions that they ^' de- 
served well of their country/' who (from 1804-6) per- 
formed a journey of 3,000 miles, through an unexplored 
portion of the Continent, covered with Indian Tribes, we 
need not hesitate to affirm the same of Conrad Weiser, 
who did a greater thing, and in a still more ditHcult era of 
the country's history. In imitation of Charles Tiamb \v<' 
sav : 


'' When mortals, such as he was, die, 
Their place we may not well supply, 
Though we among a thousand try. 
With vain endeavor." 





During the last five years of his busy and trying life 
Conrad Weiser showed signs of a wearing down and com- 
ing dissolution. On several occasions he could not respond 
to the call of the Government, as we have seen, because of 
indisposition. When he was appointed Colonel in 1755, 
he was infirm — too much so to discharge the onerous duties 
of the office, one may say. His son-in-law says : ^' JEr war 
schon alt an JahreUy schivach an Leibeskraeften, etG^ And 
yet, though verging on sixty, he seemed to perform with 
vigor and promptness all the functions of Interpreter, Jus- 
tice and Soldier. He had lived too long and well to suc- 
cumb at once. Men may not die when they will, nor 
always when they might. The sad privilege of shortening 
one's life implies the prerogative of lengthening it, too, in 
a measure. We may master circumstances to a degree, 
even though we are mastered by them finally. The state 
of his health had already indicated an abandonment of pub- 
lic life, when the burdens of a Colonelcy were imposed 
upon him ; but the pressure from without and the patriotic 
impulse from within did not permit him to give up and 

However, all things end in this world, and we speak 
of the mighty as fallen, sooner or later. On September 
19, 1759, he writes : " I am in a very low state of health, 


and caunot, without great hazard, iiiidrrtakc any joiiriicv." 
On the 24th day of the following November he signs and 
seals his last will and testament, an act in wiiich man 
shows that he has learned to know himself a mortal. How 
plainly the confession is embodied in the adjunct " laM /'* 

On the 12th day of July, 1760, eight months later, <>n 
a Saturday, as he left his home in Reading, in his average 
health, he was seized with a violent attack of colic, which 
ended his life on the following Sunday (13th), about the 
hour of noon. Thus died Conrad Weiser, July 13, 1760, 
on his farm at Womelsdorf. On the loth, the Rev. John 
Nicholas Kurtz, Lutheran Pastor at Tulpehocken, Lei)anon 
county, preached his funeral discourse on the two-fold text 
in Genesis 15 : 15, and Psalm 84 : 11-12 : "v1/k/ thou 
shaH go to thy fatliers in peace ; thou .shalt be buried in a 
good old a//6." — " For the Lord God is a sun and shield : 
the Lord will give grace and glory : no good thing will JIc 
withhold from them that icalk uprighthj. I^ord of hosts^ 
blessed is the man that trusteth i-i thfc.^^ 

Unfortunately Conrad Weiserowneda private burying 
ground, in which his mortal remains were interred, 'i'he 
spot lies one-half mile east of the town oi' Womelsdorf, 
south of the turnpike road. A rough-hewn siindstune, 
single and alone, stands over his dust. The following epi- 
taph may, with ditliculty, be deciphered : 

" Dies ist die 

Ruhe Sta^tte des 

weyl. Ehren geachteten M. Conrad W'eiser ; dei-selbige ist 

gebohren 1696 den 2. November in Alsta^t im A nit Ib-r- 

renberg im Wittenberger Lande, und gestorben 

1760 den 13. Julius, ist 
alt worden 63 Jahr, 
7 8 Monat und 13 Tag." 


Pastor Muhlenberg is probably the framer of this in- 

It is held as true that ludians frequently visited his 
tomb, for many years after, out of affectionate regard for 
their old friend. 

I. D. Rupp, Esq., says he ^^ visited the grave of Wei- 
ser, February 21, 1844, and was pained to see no enclosure 
or fence around the grave of so great and good a man.'' 
For the letter " M." in his epitaph we cannot account — if 
it is really an M. Our ancestors told us it stood for the 
German term Mann, — des geachteten Mannes, etc. 

A desolate tomb is a sad spectacle — but only for mor- 
tals, who see where they must shortly lie. Blessed are the 
dead, who heed it not. 

Neither do the weight and shadows of great monuments 
contribute anything towards an immortality. There is no 
life in a stone, and it can create none. Pillars and shafts 
have never yet immortalized a dead man, though they do 
oftentimes entomb him all the more. The ^ living dead' 
die no more, whilst the ^ buried dead' are forgotten, even 
if the stone remain — to tell how dead they are. The Pyr- 
amids endure, but who may tell the Pharaohs in and un- 
derneath ? The dust of Priestly lay long quite unostenta- 
tiously at Northumberland ; yet his disciples could ever 
find it. Governor Simon Snyder's ashes are covered by a 
low prostrate marble, at Selinsgrove, without line or letter 
of an epitaph, and still his grave is known. Only the 
' dwellers in tombs' need imposing sentinels, lest we know 
not where we tread. 

Of what avail, then, are monuments ? They ought to 
be planted as disinterested testimonials to worth and vir- 
tue. As proofs of an immortality, rather than as pro- 


moters of it, we valiit' them. When they are challeiipfl, 
more than imposed, are they aj)pn)i)riate only. As marks 
of the hal^itation of distinguished chist, they are not a 
mockery. There is a kinship between the moiuuls, manes 
and men, which Pagans, Mohammedans, Jews and Chris- 
tians feel and acknowledge ; and this bond the Hame of 
cremation, even, may not dissolve. 

After a little while and the grave of Conr..d Wciscr 
can no longer be known by Indian or white man. Some 
becoming mark there should be, on which to engrave tlie 
almost obliterated inscription : 

'^This is the 

resting-place of 

the once honored and respected 

Conrad A\'eiser, 

u'ho icas born November 2d, A. D. IGUG, 

in Afstaedt, County of Herrenberg, Wucricmber(jy 

and died July 13th, A. D. 17 GO, 

aged 63 years, 8 months and 13 days^ 

A respectable citizen of Womelsdorf writes : "If any 

man in Berks county deserves a monument, it is Conrad 



chaptp:Pv xvii. 


Conrad Weiser was a Lutheran von Haus aus. His 
ancestry had been born and reared in this persuasion. He 
forgets not to tell us of his baptism at Kueppingen. The 
Reverend Christopher Bockenmeyer^ Lutheran minister, 
baptized a number of his children. But back of that 
formation, which tradition and education had established 
in his constitution, lay a sensitive and deep religious tem- 
perament, inherited, perhaps, from his excellent mother, 
which began to manifest itself already in early childhood, 
became more and more apparent in the period of youth, 
and remained patent during his long and trying man-age. 
In his manuscript-record he adopted the habit of crown- 
ing every paragraph with apt and pointed Scriptural selec- 
tions, wdiich betrays the spirit that animated his soul. In 
his fifteenth year he said : " I became so much attached to 
my Bible that I looked upon it as my comfort, and it 
became my book of delight.'^ We feel like denominating 
him a religious enthusiast, and that of the Pietistic order. 
The hymns of his composition are of this tenor. Hence 
it was that his piety carried him again and again beyond 
his denominational setting. Whether it was because of 
the fact that his beloved Anna Eva had been of the Re- 
formed Church, or because he was more partial to Pastor 
Haeger than to Parson Kocherthal, we have it, at all 


events, over his own hand, tliat lie was j;iven in niarriaj^e 
by the Refornied ck'rgynian at Schoharie. 

We know little of significance, touching his ivliginu> 
history, until we find him at Tulpehocken, some six years. 
In the year 1735 his enthusiasm breaks forth in a note- 
worthy manner. The advent of Conra<l Bcisel, a ho^us 
monk and founder of the German Seventh Day Baptists, 
marks an epoch in his spiritual life. The un>ettled an«l 
formal condition of the Germanic Churches in Pennsylva- 
nia had doubtless told most sadly on the morals and reli- 
gion of their membership. An excitement was challen^e<l, 
produced and fostered. Beisel placed his '^candle-stick 
in the benighted region of Tulpehocken," and with tlie aid 
of his sanguine disciples succeeded in creating an awaken- 
ing. John Peter Miller, a Reformed missionary fn>m tiie 
Palatinate, in 1726, officiated as pastor in Tulpehocken at 
this period. He and his Elders and prominent members, 
as well as Conrad Weiser and his Lutheran associates, de- 
voted themselves heartily to the work of ' Revival,' and 
were themselves eddied into and engulfed by it. Oiiring 
May of 1735 Pastor Miller, Conrad Weiser, the Chorister, 
three Elders of the Tulpehocken Church, and a number uf 
family-heads were initiated into the Association by immer- 
sion. This episode is as 'the Hy in the ointment,' in the 
otherwise fair life of the man and hero ; and becomes 
especially objectionable in view of tlie radicalism with 
which he pursued his new and pseudo religion, to tlie 
injury of his former creed. On a certain day Miller, 
Weiser and others assembkMl at the house of Gcnlfrietl 
Fidler's, and after having collected the Heidelberg Cate- 
chism, Luther's Catechism, the IValter and several other 
time-honored Books of Devotion, burned tliem to ashes. 


Tviko nil perverts iVoni tlie faith of tlieir forefathers, he 
showed his love and /eal for liis adopted fanatieism, not 
so nmeli in deeds of charity and proofs of regeneration, 
as by dishonoring the parental theory and practice by which 
he came to a knowledge of fundamental truth pertaining 
to God, and man's relation to Him. Tliere is a genuine 
conversion possible for man, and such a radical one, too, 
as involves a very antipodal position to the one previously 
occupied ; but in all cases of genuine revolutions of this 
kind, a convert will not feel himself obliged to transgress 
^ the first commandment with promise' by kicking his spir- 
itual mother. Such conduct argues a perversion, rather 
than a conversion, in every instance. John Philip Boehm, 
Reformed Pastor, in Whitpain township, Philadelphia 
county, in his blasts against the Baptists, and efforts of 
Count Zinzendorf, in 1742, says with much sarcasm of 
Conrad Weiser : " Der ist, wie die gemeine Sage ist, ein 
' Justice^ * * * ijrf^d ^g igi noch nicht bekannt wor~ 
den, dasz er, seit der Zeit, durch Buse widergekehret itnd 
sich widerum zu seiner vorkin gehahten Luther isclien Re- 
ligion verfupget.^' 

His fall may be somewhat mitigated by the fact, that 
Pastor Miller, who had been an educated and zealous 
laborer in the Church and a student from the University 
of Heidelberg, led the way from home. The shepherd led 
the sheep astray. But this only for a short season. (See 
Weiser's letter of withdrawal in Appendix, dated 1743.) 
Conrad Weiser held out but for a very brief period -in 
his new quarters, as Beisel writes : ^' He was soon en- 
trapped in the net of his own wisdom." This imitation 
monk had forebodings, it seems, already from the start, of 
his coming apostasy, in consequence of some curious pedal 


examination he had made; liad \\arnc<l him, accurdin;:Iy, 
of the peculiar temptation to which he stood exix»scd, and 
endeavored to prevent the '' But, in spite iti' all 
this caution he fell a victim to the blood-thirsty avenger. 
Yea, though he had subjected himself to a mo-t vigorous 
penance, which completely emaciated him, and sutlercd his 
beard to grow to such a length that no one knew him any 
longer, and had voluntarily contributed of his j)oss('ssi<»ns 
for the furtherance of the Society's welfare — still, he fell 

But, after going so far from home, it is hardly possi- 
ble to again arrive there in so short a time. The breth- 
ren of the homestead will, at all events, not hold them 
above suspicion. Hence we may term Conrad Weiser a 
sort of religious vagrant, ever after. His spiritual activ- 
ity seems to be all circumference without centre. He i> 
all things to all men, without being anything to himself, 
in a religious sense — perhaps as dangerous a spiritual state 
as one can well occupy. 

In 1738 his ardor and zeal are enlisted in the grand 
ideal of converting the Indians, in company with iii^hop 
Spaugenberger, David Zeisberger and Shebosch, Moravian 
missionaries. Like a full-built herald of tlie cros.s he 
accompanies them to Onondago. So, too, he l)ei»omcs a 
willing yoke-fellow to Count Zinzendorf, in 1742, on a 
similar errand to Bethlehem, Shamokin and Philadelphia. 
He was so full of the Moravian spirit just now that he 
instructed Pvrlacus, Buettner and Zander in the Mohawk 
tongue, in order to qualify them to preach the (i08|h?1 
among the Iroquois. Once he writes of tlie success of 
this movement in these words : '' I thouglit myself soate<1 
in a company of primitive Christians." 


But in 1743 liis ardor seems to cool in tliis direction, 
too. A Providential man appears on the American ter- 
ritory, who brings the erring man back to the Church of 
his fathers. The Rev. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, 
D. D., who had emigrated in 1742 as the Apostle of Lu- 
theranism in America, visited the Tulpehocken region in 
1743. Doubtless both Muhlenberg and Weiser found in 
each other something of complemental parts. They 
learned to know and esteem one another at once. Their 
friendship ripened into a relationship — that of father-in- 
law and son-in-law. This is very delicately told by the 
Lutheran Patriarch after this manner : "Im Jakr 174-S 
ivard unser Freund, Conrad Weiser ^ beJcannt mit dem 
ersten hereingesandten Deidschen Evangelischen Prediger, 
gewann ihn und seine Lehre lieb und gab ihm 174-^ seine 
aelteste Tochter zur Ehegenossin. Diese Freundschafts-: 
Verbindung verursachte dann und wann einen Besuch und 
eine anhaltende Correspondenz ; beide wurden, so viel Gott 
Gnaden verliehen, auf die Seelen-Frbauung gerichtet, ivobei 
er verschiedene Jahre ziemlich murder und lebhaft im Glau- 
ben schien. Die heilige Bibel war ihm durch und durch 

The influence of his illustrious son-in-law unquestion- 
ably did much towards restoring the spiritually wayward 
man to his proper equilibrium. We hear no more of his 
religious wandering. But to steady and properly root 
again one who has so fearfully uprooted himself is no 
easy matter. We fear Conrad Weiser was never himself 
again since his Beisel experience. Pastor Muhlenberg's 
words in reference to the close of his father-in-law's career 
have an ambiguous ring. Hear and judge : 

"Als aber der gefsehrliche Krieg in diesem Theile der 


AVelt zwischen den Franzoseu iiiid Knglaiul aiishnich uiid 
unsere benachbartcu wiklcn Nationeu uieist IjinidhrmH-liig 
wordcn, den Feinden ziifielen mid unsere Gn-nzen ver- 
wuesteten, gerieth Conrad Weiser in neue Versuehnnt^cn. 
Die Landes Obrigkeit verordneto ilm zuni ()l) Lcnt- 
uant. Die Aemter sind hier bisweikn nur t'iir Personeu, 
und die Personen uicht fiir die Aemter geschaffen. 

^^ Und weil man seiner nun besonders in diesen I'ni- 
stsenden benoethigt war und ihm noch viel melir Miihe 
und Last auflegen wollte, so sollte das Salariuni einst 
Obrist Leutnauts Alles ersetzen. . . . Diese Ik'dicn- 
ung, Charge, oder Last, wie man es nennen mag, that ihni 
und seiuen Kinderu mehr Schaden an Seel und Leib, als 
einiger zuvor. Er war schon alt an Jaliren, sehwacli an 
Leibeskrseften, der lux'uslichen Pflege gewohnt, muszte 
viel abwesend von Haus sein und aueh oft mit den Vor- 
nehmen in der Stadt und europiuisehen Kriegshekk-n 
wegen den Indianer Sachen conferiren. 

" Der allergn^edigste und erbarniungsvolle Mittler un<l 
Menschenfreund, der nicht Lust hat an des Mensclien- 
verderben, erhielt sein natiirliches Tieben bis fast zuin 
Ende des wunderlichen Xrieges, und verlieh ihin noi-h 
eine besondere Gnadenfrist, so dasz er Zeit hatte, sich zu 
recolligiren ; im lilute des Lanimes die l>«'lki'kung ik-s 
Geistes abzuthun, seine Kk'idcr hell /u niaclien, seine 
Seeligkeit mit Furcht und Zittern zu schaHcn und t-in 
gna}diges Ende zu erwarten. Es kostet gewisz vid, cin 
Christ zu sein und zu bleiben." 

The weather-vane character of his creed is still fur- 
ther proclaimed by the two items foUowing, which we 
find entered in the liible of our late father, to wit : 

a) During the razing and rebuilding of the ]\efi)rnied 


Church odifloe at Reading, Berks county, the name of 
Conrad Weiser was found on the list of the Building 

b) From a letter of Bishop Spangenberg, dated Toa- 
mencin, Montgomery county, Nov. 8, 1737, we gather 
this extract : '' I have made the acquaintance of a certain 
man, Conrad AVeiser, who was nurtured in the faith of the 
Reformed Church, but who has for some time been iden- 
tified with the Seventh Day Baptists.^' 




Conrad Weiser Imd becu of a ])rolific anccstrv, and 
was himself the father of fifteen chilch-en, eight of wht>in 
seem to have died in their minority years. His seven 
surviving ones, made mention of in his last Will and 'H-s- 
tament, were : Philip, Frederick, Samuel, Jjeujamin, Pe- 
ter, Anna Maria and Margaret. 

Their father having died, possessed of nearly one thou- 
sand acres of land, which were by devise shared out among 
themselves, the sons naturally took to farming as their 
principal employment. The manner in which hedispose<l 
of his possessions, and to whom, we can best gather iVom 
his Will : 

" In the name of God. Amen. T, Conrad Weiser, of 
the town of Reading, in tlie county of J>erks, in the l*rov- 
ince of Pennsylvania, gentleman, beiug of perfect liealth 
of body and of sound and disposing miud and memory 
(blessed be God for the same), yet considering the unerr- 
tainty of human life and desirous to (piit mvK'lf as far a.^ 
I may of the cares of this world, do make this my last 
will and testament, lierel)y revoking and making voi<l all 
other and former wills by me heretofore made. Imprimis. 
I do will and order that such debts as may Ih» owing by 
me at the time of my decease with my funeral exi>ensos be 


paid I))' my executors liereiuafter named as soon as conven- 
iently may be after my decease. Item. I give, devise 
and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Ann Eve, the mes- 
suage and lot whereon I now live in the town of Reading, 
to hold to her, my said wife, during the term of her nat- 
ural life, and after my said wife's decease I will and order 
the said messuage and lot to be sold by my executors or 
the survivor or survivors of them for the best price that 
can be had for the same, and the money arising from the 
sale thereof to be divided among all my children or their 
representatives, share and share alike. Item. I give, de- 
vise and bequeath unto my said wife Aun(e) and to her 
heirs forever my lot of ground situate in Callowhill street, 
in the said town of Reading, marked in the plan of said 
town, No. 72. Item. I give and bequeath unto my said 
wife an annuity or yearly sum of twenty pounds (interest 
on) for and during her natural life, or until she marry 
again, to be paid as hereinafter directed. Item. I give 
and bequeath unto my said wife two of my best feather 
beds, of her own choice ; all my kitchen utensils, and the 
sum of fifty pounds, current money of Pennsylvania, to be 
paid to my said wife by my executors within one month 
after my decease, which I do declare to be in lieu of her 
dower and full discharge of all demands she may make on 
my estate. I give, devise and bequeath unto my four 
sons, Philip, Frederick, Samuel and Benjamin, that is to 
say to each of my said sons and his heirs for ever, the part 
of a share to him allotted in a Draft Plan signed with my 
own proper hand and to this will annexed of all that my 
plantation in Heidelberg, in the said county of Berks, and 
my several tracts of laud lying contiguous, containing in 
the whole about eight hundred and ninety acres, — they, 


my said sons, paying each of thorn the sum of two hun- 
dred and fifty pounds lawful money of the said l^rovince 
unto my executors, for the use hereinafter mentione<l, 
within one year after my decease." 

Then follow the apportionments and payments, as per 
plan or draft. 

^^lUm. I give and bequeath unto my children, Piiilip, 
Frederick, Peter, Samuel, Benjamin, ^Taria Muhlenl)erg 
and Marjj:aret Fiuker, all those mv lands lvin<; bevond 
the Kittochtany mountain, and all my grants or rights to 
lands lying beyond the same mountains, to be dividttl in 
manner following, that is to say (the lands being describe<l) 
with the Proviso — I do order and direct my executors to 
secure out of the whole ca})ital the annuity or yearly sum 
of twenty pounds hereinbefore bequeathes! to my said wife 
in such manner as shall be agreeable to her and corresi)on- 
dent to tliis mv will. And I do will and order that the 
shares of my children be paid to them respectively within 
twelve months after my decease, or sooner if the same can 
conveniently be done. But if my son Benjamin should 
then be under a":e, it is mv will and order that his breth- 
ren put the same to interest, and mortgage it to his In-st 
adv^antage during his minority." 

Other provisions follow relative to his grandson, Israel 
Heintzelman. " Iti-m. One hundred pounds out of the 
share allotted to his mother, which shall be put to interest 
and manac-ed for his best advantage until he arrives at tlu» 
age of twentv-one years, and then be paid to him with the 
profits thereof, and the remaining part of my siiid daugh- 
ter Margaret's share of the residuary part of my estate, I 
do order and direct my executors to put the same to inter- 
est on good security and pay her yearly the interest thertM)f 


during licr natural life. Provided, nevortholess, if my 

said daughter doth educate lier children in the principles 

and according to the rites of tlie Jloman Church. In such 

case (or after the death of the said Margaret) it is my will 

and I do order and direct my executors or the survivors 

of them, with the consent of my other children as soon as 

the same is aianifest to them, to retain the interest of 

money of my said daughter's share and manage the same 

to the best advantage for the use of her children, to be paid 

to them in equal shares, together with the principal, as 

they shall respectively attain the age of twenty-one years. 

And I do constitute and appoint my wife Aun(e) Eva and 

my sons Peter and Samuel executors of this my last will 

and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set 

my hand and seal this twenty-fourth day of November in 

the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 


Conrad Weiser. [Seal.] 

James Whitehead, 

Subscribing witnesses : Abraham Brossus, 

■James Biddle.'' 

This will was sworn to by James Biddle and Abraham 

Brossus, July 31, 1760, on which day it was registered in 

the " General Office, Reading, Berks County.'' 

^^ Letters testamentary in common form under the 
seal of the said office on the will above written of the said 
Conrad Weiser were granted to Ann(e) Eve Weiser, Peter 
Weiser and Samuel Weiser therein named, they being first 
solemnly sworn thereto according to law." 

Inventory thereof to be exhibited on or before the 31st 
day of August and an account of their administration 
when thereunto required. 


Registered and examined hy James Ikvd. 

The plan or explanation of the draft is a])pen(h(l. 

On the corner of Penn and Callowhill streets, Read- 
ing, stood Weiser's house, erected in 1751. It was for 
many years used as a wigwam, where the Indians met for 
treaty. After his decease it was used as a dwelling-house 
and partly as a tavern up to 1798, when John Keim and 
sons commenced business as Iron and Hardware Mer- 
chants and was known as '^ The White Store," which they 
continued up to 1803 ; by G. B. D. Leim to 1810 ; by \\. 
Keim until 1817 : by G. B. D. Keim and his son to 18.37 ; 
bv Keim and Stiehter to 1841 ; bvStichter and McKniirht 
to 1858, when it came into possession of Mr. Joseph L. 

The deed conveying the property from the executors 
of Conrad Weiser to Wm. Bird is dated Sept. 30, 17i>5, 
and recites the deed granted by the Penns in 1751 to 
Weiser. The consideration was £554, 5s., subject tu a 
ground rent of 7s. Another conveys the same by Mark 
Bird and Mary Bird to Nicholas Keim (WiUiam having 
died intestate.) Another, January KJ, 171»!>, to ,Iohn 
Keim. Another to G. B. I). Keim. Tliere is also a quit 
claim deed from the attorney of the Penns to (I. \\. I). 
Keim, 1826. Another deed, 1842, fn»m (J. 1>. I >. \\v\in 
to Joseph L. Stiehter and James McKnight I'or the same 

From the foretroine: instrument it will be known tlial 
the sire left a g()f)dly territory of hind to l>e divided among 
his children. From the good-will which the Indians 
invariably cherished for him, as well as from the tlatter- 
ino^ recommendations wiiich the authorities were ever 
ready to impress, as an imprimatur, on his oflieial a<'ts, 


we are warranted to believe that Conrad Weiser came 
lionestly by his tliousand acres. Lieut, (lovernor Thomas 
says of him, April 25, 1743 : ^' Our Indian Interpreter is 
a man of great probity and a thorough knowledge of 
Indian affairs." We have the record of a fair negotiation 
and purchase of a good portion of his possessions, besides, 
preserved in some of his letters. To Secretary Peters he 
writes, July 17, 1748 : ^'As Mr. Parsons will (I hope) 
deliver this to you, with a draft of that piece of land he laid 
out for me, by your order (I find it is above 400 acres) he 
will cut off on the side of the hill, if you require it, so 
much as you shall think fit. But I would rather have it 
all, and pay to the Honorable proprietors, as they (or you) 
shall think fit. I don't doubt but what their Honors will 
let me have it as soon as any other man. Therefore, I 
pray, let it be conveyed to me and I will do what will be 
required of me. The other small tract I had surveyed to 
me by Proprietary Warrant, on the usual conditions ; also 
the right of William Eonst to 37 acres joining. I would 
have a patent, for a good part is paid ; the rest I will pay 
before I take patent out of your or Mr. Lordner's hands.'' 
We are the more concerned to bring to light the way 
and manner by which Conrad Weiser came by such a 
large number of acres, for various reasons. First of all, 
no Indian Agent seems to be above suspicion, now-a-days 
especially. Furthermore, it has been whispered and insin- 
uated through taking anecdotes, at all events that our hero, 
too, as well as all other Indian traders, knew how to 
defraud poor Lo. The story which has been orally per- 
petuated down to the day that now is, and which ever and 
anon crops forth in print, touching his wily procedure, is 
likely to confirm one in the belief that he was not clear of 


stratagem. It is of this tenor : ^' Shekallainy came to 
Conrad Weiser and intbrmt'd him of his gloriuus drt*am. 
' I dreamed/ said Shekallamy, * that Tarachawagon (Wei- 
ser) had presented me with a ritie.' Conrad, of course, 
handed over to his dusky friend the coveted weapon, sus- 
pecting all the while that Shekallamy had a dream — 
' which was not all a dream.' 

'^A few days later Conrad Weiser had a dream, and 
told Shekallamv so. The Chief asked for its revelation. 
' I dreamed/ said Tarachawagon, that Shekallamy pre- 
sented me with the large and beautiful island nestleil in 
the Susquehanna river.' The nonplussed Chief at once 
made over his favorite island — the Isle of Que — hut 
added, ' Conrad, let us never dream again I' " 

We believe the whole to be a mere make-up. It is 
true, the Isle of Que, on which a i)art of Seliusgrove now 
stands, had been owned by the old Interpreter, and that it 
remained for one or two generations in the possession ot 
his direct descendants ; but there is nothing to warrant us 
in saying that his title rested on a mere nightly s})ecula- 
tiou. On the other hand, it is true that Shekallamv had 
been a very poor chief, so poor that Conrad Weiser inter- 
cedes for him, as an object of charity, beibre the Council 
at Philadelphia. It is necessary, l>elbre we may crcilit 
the story, to set aside all the testimony, vuluntcered from 
all parties of his day, in confirmation of his uprightness, 
probity and honor. To accept the good rep(»rt which Con- 
rad Weiser challenged for himself in his ojK'n, working 
day, and in the same breath, as it were, to admit tiiat he 
would rob an Indian Cliicf, in such a wholesale manner, 
recommending him as a pensioner to the Ciovernment 
besides — is absurd. 


Wc arc more ready to trust a tradition wliich our late 
father never tired of rcpeatin*^, and runs thus : 

" Conrad Weiser once sat resting on a login his exten- 
sive forest land. Presently an Indian, who had stealthily 
approached, squatted down hard by him. Conrad moved 
aside somewhat ; the intruder pressed harder against him. 
Again Conrad granted more room ; but the Indian pressed 
still harder on him. Tlien Conrad demanded an explana- 
tion of his strange and rude procedure. The Indian 
answered : ^^ Thus the whites did to the Indians. They 
lighted unbidden on our lands. We moved on ; they fol- 
lowed. We still moved, and they still followed. We are 
moving onward now, and they are following after. Con- 
rad, I will not push you from the log entirely. But will 
your people cease their crowding ere we roll into the 
waters?'^ This is at all events plausible. And if any of 
our readers desire some proof — let them look all around ! 
This is, in Indian phrase, more than ^ the singing of a 
bird.' It has abundant authenticity. 

We have not succeeded in tracing Conrad Weiser's 
descendants to any satisfactory degree, either in line or 
locality. American life has not yet crystallized the family. 
Well grounded facts, reliable traditions and legitimate 
inferences, nevertheless, lead us to believe that his sons 
quartered themselves on their paternal grounds originally, 
with the design of devoting themselves to farming, and 
from these several centres spread over the counties of 
Berks, Lebanon, Northumberland, and their offspring 
again into Dauphin, York, Franklin, Lehigh, Montgom- 
ery and Bucks, as well as into the states of New York 
and Ohio. His posterity has become quite large, and in 
more than one instance respectable and significant. 


All his SOUS inherited tluir sire's <rl()>vin^ patrintiHin 
auJ gave evidence of it during the wars of their dav. One 
was shot through the lungs, at the hattle of Braudywine, 
but survived. It was fre(juently mentioned in our hear- 
ing that the brave man never realized his wound tnitil his 
boot had filled with blood. The bullet was earrietl with 
him to his grave. We cannot tell which son he was, with 

Samuelj after having walked in the ways of his father 
for a while, both before and after Conrad's decease aban- 
doned forever the governmental and j)olitical arena. ( )f 
his children we have learned nothintr. 

Philip, who is said to have been the wounded soldier, 
settled on that part of the inheritance on which the town 
of Womelsdorf now^ stands — the homestead. His son 
Jabeth succeeded him, a daughter of whom {Mrs. IHiza- 
beth Lcicars)'^ is now living at Hamburg, l*a. She was 
born June 16, 1788, and is doubtless the oldest surviving 
descendant of Conrad ^\'eiser. She has in her possession 
a large silver spoon one hundred and fifty years old, which 
was one of a half dozen bought ami presenteil to tlie 
daughter of Conrad Weiser, Mrs. Muhlenberg, as a bri- 
dal gift.t V^L' are very sure of owning a mate to it : l»ut 
it ])uzzles us greatly to account lor the priinis<-uous dis- 
tribution of the set, as well as for its es<.':ipi' from the 
Muhlenheri]: household. 

Pliilij) was the fathci" of another sou, (hnnttl, whose* 
familv-roll we are enabled to enter in full. He raisiil u 
group of twelve, four of whom di(«l in younger years. 

* See Note A at end of hapter. Mrti. L. h.i> -uu-c 'iio<J 
t We are indebted fur tbe^e particulars to the late Kev. W. F. P. Darij, of 
Reading, Pa. 


The surviving' eight children were J>enjaniin, Frederick, 
Johu Conrad, Daniel, Sophia (SchawbeV), Hannah 
(Rhoads), Mary (Holsteiu), Catherine (Bassler). This 
grandson of our hero located along the Susquehanna river, 
in what is now Snyder county, at Selinsgrove, a part of 
which town had once been known as Weisersburg. The 
Rev. Dr. Daniel AVeiser had been the latest surving mem- 
ber of this line. He died December 9, 1875. There are 
a number of grand and great-grandchildren of the third 
Conrad still living in that district. 

The same Philip had also a third son, who bore his 
father's name, of whose history we are not able to record 

Benjamin, the youngest son of the older Conrad, 
seems to have inherited the greater share of his father's 
roving propensity. He was pursued by the phantom of 
recovering on his sire's possessions in the State of New 
York. In a letter to Governor Simon Snyder, April 2, 
1788, he says in reference to the matter in prospect : 
" Since I saw yon last I saw a gopd deal of the world 
(that is, diiFerent sorts of people). I was last summer at 
Mohawk river, but could not get matters settled to my 
mind. I might have gotten a considerable sum for my 
right, though. I shall now, in a few days, set off again, 
and am sure of having it done pretty nigh to my satis- 
faction.' This letter had been written from Providence, 
one of the points along the ^' shore of New England,'^ 
where, according to Muhlenberg's words, his grandfather 
had wandered prior to his last visit to Pennsylvania. 

For many long years the idea of reclaiming the Scho- 
harie lands was entertained by some of Conrad Weiser's 
descendants. We are glad to record, though, that the 


same game of Sli-possossin«r' the later oeciipaiits was in»t 
played od them, which eaused siieii sorrow to the original 
squatters. ''Befiser Unrcrhf zu /rifhii, aU unf/mr/it :» 
streiteny (See Note \l at tiul ol' Chapter.) 

We have not been able to gather any notices ni ih*- 
other sons of Conrad Weiser, or of their posterity. I*>f< r 
and Frederic!: can, therefore, be but mentioned. 

Of the daughters we present some spare notes. The 
eldest, Anna Maria, became the wife of the honored and 
venerable Lutheran Patriarch, Kev. Dr. IIenr\ Melchior 
Muhlenberg. The ramifications of his offspring have not 
been furnished us. 

His second daughter, Margaret, became the wife of a 
Mr. Heintzelmau, by her first marriage. Conrad Wei- 
ser, in a letter to Secretary Peters, May 19, 17o5, says as 
mucii. Speaking of two Indian lads, he writes : " If you 
could prevail with Mr. Heintzelman, my son-in-law, for 
a few weeks' board with him, it would be agreeable to 
the lads, because my daughter is somewhat use<l to the 
Indians and understands here and there a word." 

In his will lie also makes mention of his grandson, 
Israel Heintzelman. 

It appears, however, that she was left a widow Ix'fore 
the death of her father, and that, l)y a s(»e(Mid marriage, 
she became Mrs. Finker. As he calls her ** Margaret 
Finker" in his testamentarv instrument, it has Ihimi sur- 
mised that she had entered upon her second widowh<M>d 
already prior to the demise ol' Conrad \\ ti-er. 

If a typogra[)hical error may not Ih' inferriil, we 
might fix the date of Mrs. Anna Eve Weiser*8 death on 
the 10th day of June, 17^1, at the estimated age of 85 
years. Her remains are presumed to lie by those of her 
honored husband. 



With these s])are and very unsatisfactory notes, touch- 
ing the posterity of the subject of this memoir, we must 
rest content. Perhaps they may serve as an incentive, in 
the minds of those who are more directly interested, to 
train up a Family Tree from the roots here inserted. 


Col. J, L. Stichter, of the city of Reading, the former 
])roprietor of Conrad Weiser's homestead, now known as 
^^The White Store,^ addressed a letter to Col. J. Ross 
Snowden, Cor. Sec. of the Historical Society, September 1, 
1869, from which we extract the opening lines : 

^' Dear Sir : Conrad Weiser figures so prominently 
in the Colonial Records of Pennsylvania that I thought 


your society would a]>]>rociat(' a relic from a building 
which he orit!:inally owned and constrnctcil. In altering 
the walls of the building, whleli has since pass^-d into niv 
possession, I reserved a })iece of the limestone fbnndatinn, 
a specimen of which I forwarded you by the lion. (ieo. 
Sharswood, to be deposited among the relics of your soci- 
ety. This building was constructed in ITol bv Conrad 
Weiser, and, after undergoing many changes, is now a 
large mercantile house, in which some of the old wall is 
still retained." ***:^ *******- 

The follow^ing letters are pertinent to the relic men- 
tioned, to wit : 

'M*PiiLA., Aug. 30, l,s«i!». 

''My Dear Sir : — I have to acknowledge the re<-eipt 
of your favor of the 24th ult., with the accompanying 
relic of the Weiser House. I have to thank you for your 
politeness. I agree with you that tlie stone had better be 
deposited in the cabinet of the Flistorical Society, but it 
appears to me it had better been presented directly by your- 
self with a communication detailing such reminiscences of 
the house as you possess, and which would not fail to Ik' a 
paper of great interest. If you address your letter to 
Col. J. Ross Snowden, Prothonotary of the Supreme 
Court and Corresponding Secretary of the Historical St)- 
ciety, to whom I have handed the relic, he will take gn^at 
pride and pleasure in j)resenting it to the So«"iety in ymir 
name. ^^ery truly yours, 

** (Jeo. SlIAlt.SW(K)I). 

''J. L. Sticiiter, Ks(j., Reading." 

112 the life of 

^' Historical Society of Penna., 
"Phila., Sept. 2, 1869. 
" ]\[y Dear Sir : — I have received your favor of 
yesterday, and also from Judge Sliarswood the interesting 
relic, to which your letter refers. Any memorial of the 
distinguished Indian Agent and Interpreter and Soldier, 
Col. Weiser, possesses peculiar interest, more especially 
so valuable a relic as a piece of the foundation stone of 
his mansion house in Keading, built in 1751. This relic 
will be placed among the cherished objects of interest in 
the cabinet of our Society. I will have the honor to pre- 
sent it, in your behalf, at the next meeting of our Society, 
and will then read your interesting account of Col. Wei- 
ser and have it placed among our archives. 

'^ I am with great respect 

^' Your obedient servant, 
'' James Ross Snowden, Corres. Sec. 
" J. L. Stichter, Esq., Reading, Pa.'^ 

" Historical Society of Penna., 
'' Phila., Sept. 14, 1869. 

" Sir : — I am directed by the Society to communicate 
to you their thanks for a piece of the limestone founda- 
tion of the mansion originally constructed and owned by 
Conrad Weiser, a German refugee. This venerable relic 
will be placed in our cabinet of curiosities, and your inter- 
esting letter will be filed among the archives of our So- 

^' I have the honor to be 

" Your obedient servant, 
" James Shrigley, Librarian, 
" J. L. Stichter, Esq., Reading, Pa.^^ 


Note A. — Mrs. Lewars, the aged gran>Miiughter of Conrad We'wer, ten- 
aciously held to the opinion that the old Interpreter had another daughter, 
Elizabeth, who had been intermarried with the Reverend Mr. .^^rhultze. We 
have found no confirmation of her saying in any record extant, but are 'juite 
willing to credit her report. She also related that still another daughter had 
been intermarried with a Mr. Womelsdorf, to whom the father gave the farm 
upon which the town of Womelsdorf now stands — he having located and 
named the town. 

We have not the mind to dispute with a witness of her age and ancestral 
line. We are the less inclined to controvert the sayings of Conrad Wei.<er'a 
descendants so long as there is no direct antagonism with known fact*, on 
account of the imperfection of the records at hand. Thus, for instance, .Mrs. 
Muhlenberg is written "Anna Maria" here, and simply "Anna" in another 
place, whilst "Maria" stands for a sister. So, too, we find the names " Mag- 
dalena" and " Margretta" used interchangeably, sometimes indicating on«, 
then again two daughters. 

Note B. — Repeated attempts were made at different times to investigatt 
the titles and papers relative to those New York lands. Attorney Miller wa< 
on one occasion employed to enter upon the task of dispossessing the occu- 
pants. The aggressive party was led to entertain great hope of success. Fi- 
nally it was discovered that rats had carried away the records. A happy 
ratification, say we. 




Having reached tlie end of our task, we may be allowed 
to rest and look back upon the course we have followed ; 
and, like him who has journeyed awhile, sit down at the 
end of our way and ask for the result obtained from our 

Our way has not been like the path-finder's, which 
must first be discovered and then trodden with difficulty 
and caution. It lay not unmarked over a trackless region, 
but broken, open and well beaten by Conrad Weiser him- 
self. Even a century and a decade of years could not 
close it over again — so long did it retain the ' right of way.^ 
He made his own history, and we had but to follow in his 
^^Foot-j^rints on the sands of timey 

Like every noble soul, he proved his own biographer, 
and, accordingly, rendered it an easy task for the scribe 
coming after to perform the part of a recorder and chron- 
icler. Man and the race make history, indeed, but not so 
much with pen and parchments as by the weaving of noble 
deeds into a living, harmonious whole. The unbroken 
chain which Conrad Weiser forged in the furnace of his 
trying life, we simply recounted, link by link, from his 
cradle to his tomb. And the fact that the history of a 
mortal may thus be detailed, a hundred and more years 
after he has passed by and away, without indulging in 

CON HAD WEISER. 1 1 .'> 

verbose panegyrics or ainplityiiii; eulogy, — (his shows that 
we have not been walking side by side with a myth, but 
with a eharacter worthy of a record. We protest against 
the charire of haviuir iralvinizinl a ti<-titious skeleton into 
an a[)parent life. We comniuned with a still living man, 
though dead. I^ive men cannot die. We bury only dead 
men. As there are men dead, though they live, so are 
there men living:, though thev are dead. The (had burv 
the dead, whilst the living hold the living in life everlast- 
ing. In a certain sense, he that liveth shall never die. 

We set out in search of Conrad ^^'eise^'s ancestry, in 
(jrross-Aspach, in Herrenburg, and followed his sire to 
Afsttedt, in Backnang — his birth-place. We .'^aw him 
borne a l)al)e in his mother's arms to the church at Ku«*p- 
pingen, where he was christened '' John Conrdd.'^ W •• 
flitted with the family of five children back to the town of 
Gross-Aspach, where his excellent mother died. We ac- 
companied the motherless household in its .^ad exjxlus from 
the fated " VaterlanLV^ to London, and stood near to them 
in their sufferings and want along the Blackmoor with the 
Indian Chiefs. Thence we sailed with them on a six 
months' voyage to New York. We related the days of trial 
on Livingston Manor and Schoharie Valley. Whilst the 
sire stood as helmsman to the Palatinate Colony there, we 
trailed off with the son, for several montlis, among the 
Macpia Indians, and .'^aw him there laying the foundation 
to his future mission. During the father's etVorts, succes.>^»s 
and reverses, we beheld the son growing into manhood, 
entering into marriage, and succeeding the elder in tl»c 
office of benefactor to German ami English, to Indian and 
white men. Following the eventful life of the sire down 
to his pitiable end, we related his otrspring s arrival at 


Tulpelioc'ken, in Pciiusylvania. Here there remained for 
us to toll the interesting story of thirty years — how he 
emerged into prominence as a citi/en, leader and officer; 
serving his day, his peo})lc and his country, as Justice, 
Colonel and Chief of the Indian Bureau. We stood by 
his tomb as we stood by his cradle. 

Nor did we forget to relate his intimate relation to 
God during his long and constant contact with his fellow 
men. In a word, we presented the record of his own 
writing — crowded with thoughts, words and deeds that 
breathed, lived and fruited in a glowing immortality. 

And now it remains but for us, briefly, to learn some 
lessons from Conrad Weiser's busy life : 

1. We cannot all be like him. We would not if we 
could. The way to fill a man with unrest, is to point out 
a character as an exemplar and advocate an imitation pro- 
cess. No two men are alike, and, consequently, their mis- 
sions neither. Know thyself first, and mature ;^%se//" sub- 
sequently — that is a true and practical philosophy. ^^Be 
thyself is a motto that is overlooked and neglected too 
much by far. But remembering that, our hero may prove 
the truth of Longfellow's words for us : 

"Lives of great men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime, 
And, departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sands of time." 

2. Goethe says : " On due reflection I am of the convic- 
tion more and more that energy constitutes the great differ- 
ence between men." Given a good constitution and a 
sound mind, we believe the doctrine will realize itself in 
every individual. It failed not in the history of our hero. 
Action, perseverance, diligence, application — all these 
fruits of energy are manifest at every point of his life, 


" Let us, then, be up mvi 'loiog, 
With a heart fur any fate : 
Still achieving, still pursuing, 
Learn to labur and to wait." 

3. Religion is no hindrance to an earnest, active and 
successful life. Conrad Weiser v/as erratic in his pietv ; 
but this was, perhaps, more the fault of his .surroundiu^rs 
than his own. Times and circumstances divert men from 
the narrow way too often. He reeled anil stairgered to 
and fro, but never abandoned his love for (xod and innn. 
An old descendant savs : " In those times thev lia«l nn 
churches. Conrad Weiser was an intelligent mau, and 
was often called on to preach funeral sermons, oHtr 
prayers, and lead in singing hymns over the l)urying of 
the dead. His son-in-law, Muhlenberg, nlicved him of 
such duties after his arrival." Howsillv the notion, then, 
that the prosecution of one's religicnis duties enervates us 
for the discharge of our secular duties. fJrn d Labont 
was finely illustrated in his long and efficient course. 

"Act, act in the living present I 
Heart within and Gud o'erhead ! 

4. Conrad Weiser was a ' father' of the so-cidlcd '' J\iin- 
sylvania Gennan,^.'^ We mention this fact as an incentive 
to the numerous youths in I^ast Pennsylvania, who may 
consider it an allliction to Hud that such blood courses in 
their veins. Let it be remembered and rcpeati'd that our 
ancestry numbers, in its line, noble characters — men who 
would grace any position in life Here is a pioneer iu civ- 
ilization, an honorable and honored public olliirr, an histor- 
ical character abreast with the men of his day — and a l*rnn- 
sylvania German notwithstanding. As such he has left 

" Footprints that perhaps another, 
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, 
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, 
Seeing, shall take heart again." 

lis rilK MFK OF 



[AmoDg tlie several copies of Conrad Weiser's ^' Manu- 
script Autobiograpliy/' which are with his descendants, 
some are imperfect, and others are incorrect, in conse- 
quence of wrong translation, misconception and careless- 
ness. We will present a reprint of the fullest and most 
reliable narrative, from his own hand. It has been trans- 
lated for the ^' Collections of the Pennsylvania Historical 
Society," by Dr. H. II. Muhlenberg, of Reading.] 

In the year 1696, on the 2d of November, I, Conrad 
Weiser, was born in Europe, in the land of Wiirtemberg, 
in the county (Amt) of Herrenberg, the village is called 
Astaet, and was christened at Kupingen, near by, as my 
father has informed me. I say, I was born on the second 
day of November, sixteen hundred and ninety-six. My 
father's name was John Conrad Weiser, and my mother's 
name was Anna Magdalena, her family name was Uebelen. 
My grandfather was Jacob Weiser, my great-grandfather 
also Jacob Weiser. He was magistrate (Schultheiss) in 
the village of Great Aspach, in the county (Amt) of Back- 
nang, also in the land of Wiirtemberg. In this latter vil- 
lage my ancestors from time immemorial were born, and 
are buried there as well on my father's as my mother's 
side. In the year 1709 my mother passed into eternity 
on the first day of May, in the 43d year of her age, while 


pregnant with her sixteenth chihl, h-avin^ chihhvn, ( alri- 
na, ]\Iargareta, ^Nlagdalena, Sal)ina, Conrad, (u'or^^e I'*red- 
eriek, Christopher, Barbara, John I'^nMU'rick, and was 
buried there bv the side of mv ancestors. She was a 
woman fearing God, and much beloved l)y licr neighbors. 
Her motto was, "Jesus Christ, I live for TIkt, I die for 
Thee, Thine am T in life and death." 

In the year al)ove mentioned, namely in 17ui>, my 
father moved away from Great Aspach on the •24th of 
June, and took ei<rht children with him. Mv eldest sis- 
ter, Catrina, remained there with her hu>l)and, Conrad 
Boss, with whom she had two cuildren. Mv father sold 
them his house, fields, meadows, vineyard and garden, but 
they could only pay him 75 gulden, the remainder, <)00 
gulden, was to be paid to my father at a subsequent j)en«Kl, 
which was never done, so it was made a present to them. 
In about two months we reached London in I^ngland, 
along with several thousand Germans, whom Queen Anne, 
of glorious remembrance, received and iurnishe*! witli 
food. About Christmas Day we eml)arked, and ten siiip 
loads with about 4,000 souls were sent to Ameri<'a. 

On the 1.3th of June, 1710, we came to anelior at New 
York in North America, and in the same autnnm were 
taken to Livingston's Manor at the expense of the (iueeii. 
Here in Livin<rston's, or as it was called l>v the (iennans, 
Loewenstein's Manor, we were to burn tar, and cultivate 
hemp, to repay the expenses incurred l)y tlie Queen in 
brin<dn<r us from Holland to Ku'dand, and from Mnghin«l 
to New York. We were directe<l l)y several commission- 
ers, viz., John (Ust, Henry Mayer, liichard Scykott, (more 
properly Sacket), who were put in authority over ii.s l>y 
Robert Hunter, Governor of New York. Hut neither 


object succeodcd, and in tlie year 1713 the people were 
discharged from tlicir engagements and declared free. 
Then the people scattered themselves over the whole Prov- 
ince of Xew York. Many remained where they were. 
Abont 150 families determined to remove to Schochary (a 
place about forty English miles to the west of Albany.) 
They therefore sent in July deputies to the land of the 
Maquas to consult with the Indians about it, who allowed 
them to occupy Schochary. For the Indian deputies who 
were it England at the time the German people were lying 
in tents on the Blackmoor, had made a present to Queen 
Anne of this Schochary, that she might settle these people 
upon it. Indian guides were sent to show the Germans 
where Schochary was. My father was the first of the 
German deputies. 

In November, 1713, when the above mentioned depu- 
ties had returned from the Maqua country to Livingston's 
Manor, the people moved the same autumn to Albany and 
Schenectady, so as to be able to move in the spring to 
Schochary. Bread was very dear, but the people worked 
very hard for a living, and the old settlers were very kind 
and did much good to the Germans, although some of a 
different disposition were not wanting. My father reached 
Schenectady the same fall, where he remained with his 
family over winter with a man named John Meyndert. 

A chief of the Maqua nation named Quagnant visited 
my father, and they agreed that I should go with Quag- 
nant into his country to learn the Maqua language. I 
accompanied him and reached the Maqua country in the 
latter end of November and lived with the Indians : here 
I suffered much from the excessive cold, for I was but 
badly clothed, and towards spring also from hunger, for 


the Indians had notliing to cat. A hii-hcl <>f Indian corn 
was wortli five to six shiUings. And at this pcriinl tlic 
Indians, \\heu drunk, were so barbarous, that 1 was fre- 
quently obliged to hide from drunken Indians. 

1714. In the si)rini'- niv father removed from Schen- 
ectady to Schochary, with ab(jut loO families in great |m)v- 
erty. One borrowed a horse here, anotlier there, also a 
cow and plow harness. AVith tliese things they unitcnl and 
broke up jointly so much land that they raised nearly 
enough corn for their own consumption the following year. 
But this year they suffered much from hunger, and made 
many meals on the wild potatoes and ground beans which 
grew in great abundance at that place. The Indians 
called the potatoes Ochna-nada, the ground beans Otai'h- 
Raquara. When we wished for meal, we had to travel 
35 to 40 miles to get it, and had then to borrow it on 
credit. They would get a bushel of wheat here, a couple 
at another place, and were often absent from home three 
or four days before they could reach tlieir suffering wives 
and children cryintj for bread. 

The people had settled in villages, of which tiu-re were 
seven. The first and nearest to Schenectady was calleil 
Kneskern-dorf ; 2. (xerlachs-dorf : 3. Fuchsen-<lorf : 4. 
Hans George Schmidts-dorf ; 5. \Veisers-<lorf, or Brun- 
nen-dorf ; 6. Hartmans-dorf ; 7. Ober Weisers-ilorf". So 
named after the deputies who were sent from Livingston's 
Manor to the Macpia country. 

Towards the end of July 1 returned from among the 
Indians to my father, and had made considerable progress, 
or had learned the greater part of the Ma(pia language. 
An English mile from my father's house tiiere livinl several 
Macpia families, and there were always Mannas among us 


luuitiiig, so that there was always sonietliing for me to do 
in interpreting, bnt without pay. There was no one else 
to be found among our people who understood the language, 
so that I gradually became completely master of the lan- 
guage, so far as my years and other circumstances permitted. 

Here now this people lived peaceably for several years 
without preachers or magistrates. Each one did as he 
thought proper. About this tim(i I became very sick and 
expected to die, and was willing to die, for my step- 
mother was indeed a step-mother to me. By her influence 
my father treated me very harshly ; I had no other friend, 
and had to bear hunger and cold. I often thought of 
running away, but the sickness mentioned put a bit in my 
mouth ; I was bound as if by a rope to remain with my 
father to obey him. 

I have already mentioned that my father Avas a wid- 
ower when he left Germany, and landed in 1710 with 
eight children, in JSTew York, where my two brothers, 
George Frederick and Christopher, were bound by the 
Governor, with my then sick father's consent, over to 
Long Island. The following winter my youngest brother, 
John Frederick, died in the sixth year of his age, and 
was buried in Livingston's hush, as the expression then 
was, and was the first one buried where now the Reformed 
church in Weisers-dorf stands. 

In the year 1711 my father married my step-mother, 
whom I have mentioned above. It was an unhappy 
match, and was the cause of my brothers and sisters all 
becoming scattered. At last I was the only one left at 
home, except the three children he had by my step-mother, 
viz., John Frederick, Jacob and Rebecca. Everything 
went crab-fashion ; one misfortune after another happened 


to our tliiiiily, oi' which I always was partaker. I fre- 
quently did not know where to turn, and K'arncd t<> pray 
to God, and the I>il)le heeanie a very agreealjle l)«K»k to me. 

But to return to Sehoehary. The people had taken 
possession without informing the (Jovernor of New York, 
who, after letting them know his dissatisfartion, sold the 
land to seven rich merehants, four of whom HvimI in Al- 
banv, the other three in New York. Tiie names of those 
in Albany were Myndert Shvller, John Shvller, Rol)ert 
Livingston, Peter Van Brughen ; of those in New York 
were George Clarke, at that time Secretary, Doctor Stadts, 
Rip Van Dam. Upon this a great uproar arose in 
Sehoehary and Albany, because many persons in Ali)any 
wished the poor people to retiun their lands. The jH'ople 
of Sehoehary divided into two parties; the strongest did 
not ^yisll to obey, but to keep the land, and therefore sent 
deputies to England to obtain a grant from George the 
first, not only for Sehoehary, but for more land in addition. 
But the plans did not succeed according to their wishes, 
for in the first place the deputies had to leave secretly and 
embarked at Philadelphia in 1718. As soon as they got 
to sea they fell into the hands of pirates, who robbed them 
as well as the crew of their money, but then set tliem free. 

My father, who was one of tiie deputies, was three 
times tied up and Hogged, but W(»uld not confess to having 
money ; finally William Scliclf, the otlier deputy, s:iid to 
the pirates, this man and 1 liave a purse in common, and 
I have already ffiven it tt) you, he has nothiui: to t:ive 
you ; upon which they let him go free. The ship had to 
})ut into Boston to purchase necessaries for the en*w and 
passengers, in place of those taken by the pirates. When 
thev reached Enij:land, thev found times had changed ami 


that there was no longer a (^aeen Anne on the tlirone. 
They still found some of the old friends and advocates of 
the Germans, among whom were the Chaplains at the 
King's German Chapel, Messrs. Boehni and Roberts, who 
did all in their power. The affiiirs of the deputies finally 
reached the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Planta- 
tions, and the Governor of New York, Robert Hunter, 
was called home. In the meanwhile the deputies got into 
debt ; Walrath, the third deputy, became homesick, and 
embarked on a vessel bound to New York, but died at 
sea. The other two were thrown into prison ; they wrote 
in time for money, but owing to the ignorance and over- 
confidence of the persons who had the money to transmit 
which the people had collected, it reached England very 
slowly. In the meantime Robert Hunter had arrived in 
England, had arranged the sale of the Schochary lands in 
his own way before the Board of Trade and Plantations. 
The opposite party was in prison, without friends or 
money. Finally, when a bill of exchange for seventy 
pounds sterling arrived, they were released from prison, 
petitioned anew, and in the end got an order to the newly 
arrived Governor of New York, William Burnet, to grant 
vacant land to the Germans who had been sent to New 
York by the deceased Queen Anne. 

Towards the end of the year 1720 this William Bur- 
net arrived in New York. In the commencement of the 
year 1721 I was sent to New York with a petition to 
Governor Burnet. He appeared friendly, and stated what 
kind of an order from the Lords of Trade and Plantations 
he brought with him, which he was resolved to comply 
with, but deputies were yet in England, not content with 
the decision, but could get nothing more done. In the 


last named year, viz., 1721, William SclielV returned Imiin', 
having (|uarreled with my father; they h(»th liad liard 
heads. At last, in the month of November, 1723, mv 
father also returned. Seheff died six weeks after lii- 

Governor Burnet gave patents for land to the few who 
were willing to settle in the Macjua eountry, namely in 
Stone Arabia, and above the falls,'-' but none on tiie river, 
as the people hoped. They therefore scattered, the larger 
part removed to the Maqua c(Hnitry or remained in 
Schocharv, and boug^ht the land from the ijefore name<l 
rich men. 

The people got news of the land on the Swafara an<l 
TiiZ/^^AocA-en, in Pennsylvania ; many of them united and 
cut a road from Schochary to the Susquehanna river, car- 
ried their goods there, and made canoes, and floated down 
the river to the mouth of the Swatara creek, and drove 
their cattle over land. This happened in the spring of 
the year 1723. From there they came to Tulj>i'h<H'ken, 
and this was the beginning of Tulpehoeken settlement. 
Others followed this party and settled there, at rir>t, also, 
without the permission of the Proprietary of iVnn.sylva- 
nia or his Commissioners ; also against the consent of the 
Indians, from whom the land had not yet been puri'hase<l. 
There was no one among the people to govern them, each 
one did as he pleased, and their obstinacy has stinxl in 
their way ever since. Here I will leave them for a time, 
and describe my own circumstances. 

In 1720, while my father was in England, 1 married 
my Ann ICve, and was given her in marriage by the Rev. 

* The falls of the Mohawk river. 


Joliii Frederick Heger, Reformed elergyniaii, on the 22d 
of Xovember, in my fatlier's house in Sclioeliary. 

In 1722, the 7th of September, my son Philip was 
horn, and was baptized by John Bernhard von Duehren, 
Lntheran clergyman ; his sponsors were Philip Brown and 

The 13th of January, 1725, my daughter Anna Mad- 
lina was born ; was baptized by John Jacob Oehl, Reformed 
clergyman ; her sponsors were Christian Bauch, Junior, 
and my sister Barbara. 

In 1727, my daughter Maria was born on the 24th of 
June, and was baptized by William Christopher Birken- 
meyer, Lutheran clergyman. Her sponsors were Niklas 
Feg and wife. 

In 1728, December 24th, my sou Frederick was born ; 
was baptized by John Bernhart von Duehren, Lutheran 
clergyman ; his sponsors were Mklas Feg and wife. 

These four were born to me at Schochary. Afterwards, 
namely, in 1729, I removed to Pennsylvania, and settled in 
Tulpehocken, where the following children were born to 
me, namely : 

1730, the 27th of February, my son Peter was born, 
and in 1731, the 15th of February, I had two sons born, 
who were called Christopher and Jacob ; the first lived 15 
weeks, the latter 13 weeks, when they were released from 
the evils of this world and taken to a happy eternity. 

1732, June 19th, my daughter Elizabeth was born. 

1734, the 28th of January, my daughter Margaret was 

The 23d of April, 1735, my son Samuel was born. 

The 18th of July, 1736, I had again a son born to me. 
I called him Benjamin ; when he was three months old, 


the care of the Ahiii«^htv (Jod took iiiiii a\viv : tljt- •<iiik' 
year my daughter Elizabetli loHowcd liin,. \ nitTcifnl 
God will '/wv them all to nie again, to tlic lionor of Hi.-^ 

The 11th of Augui^t, 17 40, another <(m was JMirn ; I 
called his name Jaebez. Tlie mercy of (irnl rcniovtMl jiini 
from the evil of these davs when he was 17 davs old. 

The 27th of February, 1742, another daughter was 
born; I called her name Hanna ; the following 11th of 
August she went into a happy eternity. 

The 16th of March of this year my dear daughter 
Madlina went from time to eternitv, throUirh an easv 
death, after a long and tedious illness. Her faith, con- 
solation and refuge was in the crucified Savior, Jesus 
Christ, whom she had vowed herself to in days of healtli, 
with soul and body. 

The 12tli of August, 1744, my sou Benjamin was Ixmi. 




[This letter was found among the papers of the late 
I. Daniel Rupp, the well-known historian of Pennsylva- 
nia. It is interesting and important, because it clears up 
a point in the life of Conrad Weiser which had been 
obscure thus far. In May, 1735, he joined the Seventh 
Day Baptists at Ephrata with Rev. John Peter Miller 
and nine other families of Tulpehocken. It was known 
that he withdrew from the sect at a later period, but the 
exact time and the reasons which induced him to take this 
step were unknown. Both are now supplied by this new 
letter, by which he severed his connection with the Ephrata 
brethren. — W. J. Hinke.] 

Worthy and Dear Friends and Brethren. 

It cannot be denied at Ephrata that I and several 
other members of the community, partly gone to their rest, 
partly still living, were compelled to protest for a consid- 
erable time against the domination of conscience, the sup- 
pression of innocent minds, against the prevailing pomp 
and luxury, both in dress and magnificent buildings, but 
we achieved about as much as nothing ; on the contrary, 
in spite of all protests, this practice was still more eagerly 
continued, and following the manner of the world, the 
attempt was made to cover such pride and luxury with the 
name of God. It was most zealously defended, so that 


for years nothing has been heard in piiMic a.ssenil)Iies hut 
the boast : " There the work .stands ; it is the work of G'o(/," 
as if it were the first Balnlonian inastcrpiwe. \\'Ii«»le 
assemblies were held in honor of this loathsome i«l<)hitrv, 
while the leaders have indulged in the most tiilsouH- -<'!f- 
praise by all kinds of fietitious stories. 

For these and other reasons, which 1 roervt* tor 
myself to state them at a fitting opi)ortunity, 1 take leave 
of your young, but already deerepit sect, and I desire 
henceforth to be treated as a stranger, esjK'cially l>v vmi, 
the presiding officers (su])erintcndeuts), whenever 1 ?hould 
come to Ephrata because of business or other jxrsonal 
inclinations, or should meet you somewhere else. You 
will no doubt know liow to instruct, as usual, the other, 
partly innocent, minds, as to what they have to con>ider 
me. I make a distinction between them and you, and 
hope the time will come when they shall be liberate*! tronj 
their physical and spiritual bondage, as also from the 
thraldom of conscience, under which they are groiining. 
I protest once more against you, the overseers, who teeil 
yourselves and do not spare the Hock, but scatter and 
devour them. ******* 

****** *** 

* * [A few lines are here torn oil'.] * 

I ^V ie» lllUJ."? clUJ IILTIL: LlJl 11 I'll. J 

* * t- ******* 

I hope the end is near and the deliverance has oomr. Of 
course I know beforehand that you will not consider my 
words, especially since 1 am not the son of a prophet or a 
prophet myself Xor do I a})peal to a spirit in my head 
or bodv as the cause of this letter, l)ut mv conclusions are 
founded upon the eternal truth and tiie rea.«*<)nablenes8 of 
the thing itself. T am in earnest ; you may ridi<Mde me 
as much as you please. 


Hercwitli T ('(nicliule and live in hope that the time 
will come when all knees shall bow before the name of 
Jesus, even those of such proud saints who publicly 
declare rather to l)uni in hell than bow before Him. 

Why doest thou extol thyself, O poor earth? The 
iudirment of God can humble thee in a moment. Do it 
rather willingly ; it is no disgrace, for the heathen are 
his inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth his 
possession. He is a King of all kings and a Lord of all 
lords. Worship, majesty and power belong to Him, for 
the Father has made all things subject to Him. He will 
give His honor to no other, nor His glory to the mighty. 
He is the Lord, and beside Him there is no Savior. 

If there is any one not satisfied with my statement, let 
him convince me of the contrary. Victory belongs to 
truth. The authority of man has no power. To be silent 
is good at times, but in this case it would be bad. If you 
have anything to say in your defence, or undertaken a 
reformation, let me know, for I shall be glad to hear it. 

Finally, I remain a friend of truth and sincerity, and 
of all those who love them, but a sworn enemy of all lies 
and hypocrisy. Farewell. 

September 3, 1743. Conead Weiser. 



Conrad Weiser composed the followinj^ beautiful \ . . 
which were used at the dedication of a church : 

Jehovah, Herr und ^lajestiet I 
Hcer uuser kindlicii Flchen : 
NeiiT deine Ohren zuni Gebet 
Der Schaaren, die da stelien 
Vor deiuein heiligen Angesiciit : 
Verschniiche unsere Bitte nicht, 
Um deiues Xamens willcn I 

Dies Hans wird heute eiugeweiht 
Vou deiuem Bundes-Volke : 
Lasz uns, Herr, deine Ilerrlichkeit 
Hernieder in der Wolke, 
Dasz sie erfuelle dieses Flaus 
Und treibe aHes Boese aus, 
Um deines Xamens wiUen I 

Es halte Xiemand das gemeiu, 

AA^as du fuer rein erkheret : 

Dies Hans soil eine Wohnung .>ein, 

Worin man dich verehret. 

Es bleibe stets ein Heiligthum 

Fuer's reine Evangeliuin ! 

Um deines Xamens willen I 

Verleihe, dasz es nie gebricht 

An treuen Kircheu-lva'theii, 

Die nach (Jewisson, Amt und rili«ht 

Fuer sich und Andere Iwten, 

Daniit (lurch ihren Dienst und Tron 

Der Kirche wohlgerathen sei, 

Um deines Xamens willen ! 


O ]\Iajosta)t, crziierne nicht, 

Dasz wir iins iiiiterwiiidcn, 

7a\ bitten, dasz deiu Recht iind Ijicht 

Hier stetig sei zii findcn ! 

Drum gieb uns Lelirer, die erfuellt 

Mit deinem Geist und Ebenbild, 

Urn deines Namens willen ! 

AVenii deiue treueii Knechte hier 
In deinem Namen lehreu, 
Wenn sie erhoehen dein Panier ; 
Dann lasz dein A^olk so hoeren, 
Dasz sich eroeifne ihr Verstand, 
Ihr Wille werde umgewandt, 
Um deines Namens willen ! 

Hier oeffne sich der Boten Mund, 

Und triefe recht vom Fette ! 

Er mache Fluch und Segen kund, 

Und ringe in die Wette 

Mit Gott und seines Geistes Kraft, 

Die ihm den A¥eg zum Herzen schafft, 

Um Jesu Christi willen ! 

Lasz, Jesu, diese Quelle sein 

Ein reines Meer der Gnaden, 

Darinnen unsere Kindelein 

Von Erb- und Suenden-Schaden 

Durch dein Verdienst, Blut, Schweisz und Tod 

Errettet werde aus der Noth, 

Um deines Namens Avillen ! 

Lasz, Majest?et, auf diesem Platz 
Die reinste Lehre bleiben, 
Und deine Knechte solchen Schatz 
Nach deinem Willen treiben. 
Behuete uns vor Zsenkerei, 
Vor Sicherheit und Heuchelei, 
Um deines ^Namens willen ! 


Das uiul l)K'ihet ewi^ wahr, 
Was C'liristi Muiul trcspnK'hcn : 
\\ er al)- uiid /nthut, hat <:[iui/. klar 
Des Mittlcrs Wort izichroclii'ij. 
Drum invt nicht, Gott husset sich 
In soldier Sadie absonderlich 
Xidit in (lie Tiienge siK)tten I 

Lasz dieses Hans die Werkstatt sein, 

Worinu viel tauseiid Seelen 

In Bnsz nnd Glauben nnr allein 

Mit Jesu sieli verni:elilen 

Durch deines Wurtes Lel)ens-Salt 

Und deiner Sakramenten Kraft, 

Uni deines Naniens willen I 

Gieb end Hell, lueehste Majestiut 

Des Hininiels und dcr Erden, 

Dasz Fuerbitt, Dank, Preis und Gebet 

Mag liier geopfert werdeii 

Fuer jeden Stand der ( 'liribtenheit, 

Daniit in alle Kwigkeit 

Dein Nam' creehret werde ! 

Vor Feuer, Krieg und Wassers-Xotli 

Wollst du dies liaus bewahren I 

Daniit iiaeh sel'geni T(k1 

Die Xaclikoninien ertaliren, 

Dasz wir dich, walm'U < Jott, geliebt 

Und uns in deineni Wort geucbt, 

Fni deines Xaniens willen I 



One of tlie most thrilling stories connected with the 
time of Conrad Weiser is that of a young girl named Re- 
tina Hartman. It occurred durino- the cruel French and 
Indian war, which continued from 1755 to 1763. 

The colonies inhabited by the German immigrants 
belonged to England, whilst the French possessed Canada 
and Louisiana. A war broke out between England and 
France, and this war was extended to the American con- 
tinent. The French succeeded in gaining the Indians to 
their side. It is believed that the French promised to 
repossess the Indians of the lands which they formerly 
occupied and which were then in the possession of the 
Germans. The result was that the savage Indiaus fought 
for the French, and, returning to Berks county, committed 
numerous cruelties and outrages. The Germans, who 
were without protection, were often surprised by the sav- 
ages, and many of them scalped and killed, and their 
homes burned. In a number of places the men always 
took their rifles with them to church, and some of them 
stood on guard outside, whilst the people worshiped inside. 
The history of Berks county abounds with Indian cruel- 
ties. In many cases the children who were not killed, 
were carried oif into captivity. The people of the whole 
county, especially the northern part, were for years in a 
state of insecurity, and their suiferings were great. Tlie 
story given below is only one of many similar ones. 


Ainona; tlio Palatinate faniilics who lia«l cini^rratr*! to 
the Tulpchockcn rotrion to enjoy rcli^^ioiis trt»e(l<»in wius 
that of Henry Hartman, which eunsisted of lather, mother, 
two sons and two danghters. They resided in wliat is 
now Bethel township, uear the place where Fort Henry 
was afterwards erected. The parents were pious ix'opU', 
who tauoht their children to pray, read the Scriptures and 
to sing. There were of course no Sunday schools, and 
about the only instruction which the children reeeive<l 
came from the parents. But this instruction was of the 
right sort, as is evident from the fruit it bore. The family 
could attend church but seldom, the only church at Tid- 
pehocken being a considerable distance away. One of the 
favorite hvmns often suno; bv the family commenced 
thus : '^Alone, yet not alone am I." This hymn was a 
source of consolation to them in their lonelv home, it 
proved a great blessing after awhile, as we shall see. 

On October 16, 1755, the Hartman family were vis- 
ited by a terrible tragedy. The mother and youngest son 
had gone to the mill. During their tibsence the cruel In- 
dians had sur[)rised the family and performed their blcMwly 
work. A\ lien the mother and son returned, they found 
that the father and the oldest son had been murdered and 
scalped by the Indians, anil the two daughters, Ikirbara, 
twelve years of age, and Regina, ten years of age, taken 
captives, and the buildings burned I What an a\N tul 
sight I What a fearful change, the work of a few min- 
utes ! The once ha})py family was partly munlei-ed. partly 
captured, and the remainder homeless. W hat mu>t have 
been the feelings of the mother and daughtj-r'.' Ami what 
must have been the feelings of the two inuiKcnt daugh- 
ters, as they beheld their father and brother murdero<] in 


cold 1)1()(k1, and the torch a])])li('d to the beloved luinible 
homo, whilst they themselves were about being carried 
away into unknown regions, with rude and cruel Indians 
as their only companions. They could hardly hope ever 
to see their mother and brother ajrain. 

The two sisters were taken to an obscure place in the 
mountain and held there until a number of child captives 
had been collected, when they entered upon their journey. 
Many were too young to walk, and these were tied on the 
backs of the older and stronger ones. Their journey led 
them through woods and briers, and over rough, stony 
paths. Their clothing was nearly all torn oif their bodies. 
Thus they traveled several hundred miles. Then Barbara 
was separated from Regina. This was a most painful 
experience for both. Their hearts were still bleeding 
from the loss of their parents and their home, and now 
they were parted without any hope of ever meeting again 
in this world. And they never saw each other again. 
Here the record ends as far as Barbara is concerned. 
Nothing is known of her subsequent experience and his- 
tory. It is assumed that she died as a captive. 

Begina was taken about one hundred miles farther, 
where she and a little girl, which she had to carry, were 
given in charge of a cruel Indian woman, who had a son. 
Her experience can better be imagined than described. 
It was hard enough to be deprived of parents and home, 
but this was not all. The son was often away from home 
for long periods, and poor Regina was compelled, under 
threats of death, to secure the food upon which they sub- 
sisted. Conrad Weiser stated that when he resided in 
New York they often made a meal on ^^ wild potatoes and 
ground beans, which grew in abundance." These no 

(X)NRAi) \s hi>j.i:. 137 

doubt furnished food for the IiuUair^ of New York, aiu«»ug 
whom Rc<^ina is supposed t<> havr l)een at this time. 

The eondition and surroundiujjfs of the youu^r and 
tender-hearted Re«riua were most sad. From ten to nine- 
teen years of aije, when she mostlv nee<led the eare of 
parents and friends, slie was compelled to live beyond the 
pale of civilization and among savage Indian>. licr 
native tongue was German, but during these years she 
never heard a word of German excei)t in conversation 
with her younger companion, who was l)rought with her 
into captivity. She gradually became reconciled to her 
sad fate, became inured to the life of the Indians, adopted 
their customs and learned their language. Thus she spent 
the nine years of her exile without any hope of l)eing 
restored to her mother. 

The cruel war continued and numerous nnirders were 
committed in Berks county. However, by 176<) the In- 
dians and the French were finally defeated and driven 
from this part of the country. \\'hen the treaty of peace 
was made, Col. Bouipiet, who commamled the I'^nglish 
army, included in the treaty a conditit)n that all the ehil- 
dren who had been taken captive during the war siiould 
be returned. Thev were accordingly gathered from dit- 
ferent sections and brought to Fort l)u«piesne, where the 
city of Pittsburg is now located. i'hey were niggnl, and 
some of them were almost entirely without clothing. 
Their sufferings must have been great, for it was in the 
month of Decembei'. The garrison of the f«»rt >uj)pliiHl 
the poor captives with clothing as far as |)ossible. 

The captive children were then brought to ( 'arlisle, 
Pa., and notice published in the papers that parents whose 
children had been taken captive «luring the war, should 


come and claim tlicm. Tlie heart of Mrs. Hartmaii was 
filled with joy, because she hoped that now at last her 
Iuni2:-lost dauii'hters would be returned to her. She went 
to Carlisle, but how should she recognize her children ? 
During these nine years they had greatly changed, not 
only by time, but especially by their condition. The 
unfavorable surroundings naturally had their effects upon 
the young girls. But the mother hoped and prayed. 

We now come to the most touching and thrilling part 
of the story. The children were drawn up in line, and 
the anxious mother walked along the line and looked 
carefully at each child, but reached the end without find- 
ing either Barbara or Regina. We may imagine her feel- 
ing of disappointment. Col. Bouquet asked the mother 
whether the children had no marks on their bodies by 
which she could recognize them, or whether she could not 
do something by which they might recognize her. The 
mother replied that they used to sing certain hymns in the 
family, before the children were taken captive, and possi- 
bly they might still remember these. Col. Bouquet asked 
her to sing one of these hymns. With trembling voice 
the troubled mother commenced to sing : 

Allein und doch nicht ganz alleine, 

Bin ich in meiner Einsamkeit ; 
Denn wenn ich ganz verlassen scheine, 

Vertreibt mir Jesus selbst die Zeit ; 
Ich bin bei Ihin und Er bei mir, 

So kommt mir gar nichts einsam fuer. 

The following is a translation : 

Alone, yet not alone am I, 

Though in this solitude so drear ; 
I feel my Savior always nigh, 

He comes the weary hours to cheer ; 
I am with Him and He with me, 

Even here alone I cannot be. 


The mother had scarcely sung two lines, when Ke^nna 
sprang from the line^ joined in singing the old i'aniiHar 
hvnin, and mother and dau<rhter embraced each otiier and 
shed tears of joy that they were united again after a 
dreary separation of nine years. Their iov was marred 
only by the fact that Barbara was not there. Re<jrina had 
neyer heard of her .«^nce their separation soon after their 
capture. She ^yas never heard of again. When Regina 
and her mother were about leaving, Regina's companion 
clung to her and begged to be permitted to go with her. 
The record implies that her request was granted, and that 
she was brought along to Tulpehocken. 

Truly, '^godliness is profitable unto all things." The 
devotional spirit of the Hartman family brought its own 
reward in the discovery of the lost daughter. But for the 
singing of the fiimiliar hymn, the mother and daughter 
\vould likely never have found each other. It is an inter- 
esting fact that the hymn, by the singing of which Regina 
recognized her mother, describes her feelings during her 
captivity most aptly. The good seed sown in child hearts 
will bear fruit in after years. The religious instruction 
imparted to the child Regina was not lost. It is stated 
that during her captivity she often took her yoimg(ierman 
companion away from the Indian hut t») some secluded 
spot and engaged in prayer with her. and in singing the 
hvmns which she had learned under the parental roof. 
Again, when Regina returned to the home of lier mother, 
she inquired for the family l>ii)le and the old liynui book. 
Dr. Henry ]Melcliior Muhlenberg, the celebrated Lutheran 
patriarch, states in his otlicial report that the mother told 
him that Regina often asked for " the b(M)k in which Christ 
so kindly spoke to the children, an<l the people could 
speak to Him.'' 


Alas, the dear old family Bil)le had been hurncd when 
the Indians destroyed the home. IJiit Dr. Muhlenberg 
gave them a Bible and money to purchase a hymn book. 

We are not told much of the history of Mrs. Hart- 
man and her daughter Regina after the latter's return 
from captivity. It is assumed that they spent the remain- 
der of their lives in Tulpehocken. Dr. Mnhlenberg knew 
the family well. From him we learn the birthplaces of 
father and mother in Germany. He also gives us the 
motive of their coming to the new world. Like many 
others they sought a country of religious freedom. Dr. 
M. says that " the father was already old and too weak to 
do hard work, but endeavored to bring up his children in 
the fear of God in this land, where few schools were to be 
found." Regina lived to a good age^ and was a pious 
lady. She was buried by the side of her mother at Christ 
Lutheran Church, near Stouchsburg, Pa. 

This is, in short, the story of Regina, which has such 
a large place in the hearts of our Pennsylvania German 

form 410